What made you cry/tear up recently? (Cry List for inspiration)

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This is a bit of a suggestion for inspiration, I guess -- especially if you want to tap into emotions without writing the same old love and breakup songs and nothing else. So how many people here are crybabies like me? I figured it might be common in creative people. I'm not talking about crying for your own problems, but out of empathy with other people's joys and tragedies.

I'm literally like 9-10 out of 10 in terms of how easily I cry at not just movies, but sentimental commercials, random acts of kindness, weddings, wakes, births, graduations (I don't have to know the people for any of these), many news stories both happy and sad... I even tear up whenever a big crowd of people comes together for a common reason, like at concerts, parades, and sporting events (even though I find both sports and patriotism pointless myself, haha).

I used to hate this about myself, but over the past year I've started calling it "my superpower" since I want to write songs that express emotions, and I tap into them extremely easily. I started keeping a list on my phone of things that made me cry or tear up, and now literally every time I feel it coming on I try to get it down so I don't forget it. It could always turn into a song idea!

Now feel free to start your own list either privately or in this thread, but here's a sampling from my list to inspire either your own list, or a song (doesn't even necessarily have to be a very emotional song btw), as you can see they're pretty random and I know not everyone is quite as sensitive as I am, but it's a good excuse to watch more movies/TV, listen to more music, read books and poetry, eavesdrop, and/or read the news:
1) Divided families in Korea and family reunions done through lotteries (I'm writing a song about this now, but there can be more than one song about it!)
2) this Paper & Packaging commercial
3) this (long) Apple commercial
4) this Google commercial (seriously!! It's just a series of web searches and it made me cry!)
5) From the Wikipedia article on the Lockerbie plane crash: "Many of the passengers' relatives, most of them from the US, arrived there within days to identify the dead. Volunteers from Lockerbie set up and staffed canteens, which stayed open 24 hours a day and offered relatives, soldiers, police officers, and social workers free sandwiches, hot meals, coffee, and someone to talk to. The people of the town washed, dried, and ironed every piece of clothing that was found once the police had determined they were of no forensic value."
6) The poem "Surprised by Joy" by William Wordsworth
7) A news story about a gay man who found a baby boy in the subway, and even though his partner fought him on it (didn't want kids), they raised him and now he's 20 and very well-adjusted with a lot of potential, and they are all very happy.
8.) the song "More Hearts than Mine" by Ingrid Andress
9) the song "7 Years" by Lukas Graham
10) My dad getting completely surprised and overwhelmed at his surprise b-day
11) the movie "Sully"
12) the song "Supermarket Flowers" by Ed Sheeran
13) newspaper quote about a guy on the transplant waiting list: "'One of the things that keeps me going is knowing that soon they may call me for a kidney.' He doesn't know how long his name will be on the transplant wait list, but he keeps a hospital bag under his bed to be ready."
14) newspaper quote about polio and covid vaccine historical parallels (don't know why this one got me lol): "A 1955 newspaper photo shows him becoming one of the first second graders in his school to get a vaccination shot. His future wife was a classmate who got hers that day too. 66 years later they got the covid-19 vaccination shots together."

So what's your list? You can also add stuff that *always* makes you cry every time you think of/see/hear it, that you can think of off the top of your head. That's basically how I started mine. And what are your thoughts on the tendency to cry at everything? Where are you on the spectrum? Do you think it helps with creativity and songwriting?

Good topic, Amanda. Smile

Like you, I’m grateful that certain things can move me to tears. It reminds me that I’m human. And it definitely nurtures creativity

Too many to list, but a few triggers for me are:
- Reading of children being hurt, neglected, damaged, or made to suffer in any
My most recent lyric in this regard is http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/46805
- News of a species of any kind (plant or animal) becoming extinct (especially
due to human activities); a recent ‘lyric’ that references this is http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/46788
- seeing or reading of random, spontaneous acts of kindness;
- seeing or reading of cruelty involving our treatment of animals, whether wild or domestic;
- reading of instances where people have been jailed for decades, even executed,
for crimes they didn’t commit
- the execution of Lisa Montgomery in January 2021, after the former US
president, a day or two before he stepped down - and despite fervent pleas from lawyers and from the public –
steadfastly refused to commute her sentence to life. Even though he had readily pardoned many of his own felonious cronies.
When I read that the execution had gone ahead, I literally sobbed;
- many poems, like ‘My Sweet, Crushed Angel’ by Hafiz, and ‘Wild Geese’ by Mary
- many songs (e.g. ‘Once I Was’ by Tim Buckley), books, and movies;
- sometimes just looking at the sky, at a particularly amazing formation of clouds,
or being in nature somewhere;
- looking at NASA images of space or photos or videos of the amazing creatures
that live in the underwater kingdoms on our planet (most recently, the
documentary film ‘My Octopus Teacher’;
- reading accounts of injustices and social/cultural horrors of centuries
past (and of course everything that's happening in the current century and day to day).

*gestures vaguely at modern life*

Interesting thread idea!

I don't cry very often, but animal stuff kills me. A couple months ago I was searching for ancient YouTube videos and I found this one about a guy and his pet duck that made me cry twice that night.

Bruce Springsteen's "Drive All Night" makes me cry everytime. After Clarence's amazing solo when it gets to the "don't cry now" part, I always start crying. Then there's "You're Missing" which I just don't listen to unless I put The Rising on. That one is rough.

Aside from sad dog movies (which I have thoroughly avoided after Marley and Me) I cried at the end of Awakenings. The message was so beautiful and also just the general sadness of the situation. Toy Story 3 also. I was just about 14 when it came out and the whole leaving your childhood behind thing was still a devastating idea to me.

The one and only show that has ever made got me is Clannad After Story. Five times in the second half. The train scene is by far the most emotional any non-dog related media has ever made me feel.

But ya in general it takes a lot for any kind of media to get to me.

Not infrequently it is from watching the evening news. So I’m reminded of Simon and Garfunkel in that regard. And yet surprisingly tears came once, when children were shown running through a playground to the music of Bach’s Brandenburg concerto.

conor oberst's next of kin.,,, john ford's the searchers,,,,,

As a kid I was labeled by family members, ironically by some of the same ones who would discipline or reprimand me for crying or 'being a baby'. So tears do not come often for me even though I feel that it is healthy to feel and when needed, release. I have consistently tested as sensitive (or highly sensitive) and feel that is a 'superpower' as I pick up on things that others do not. In regard to songwriting that helps me have empathy for a character and I feel like that guides my melodic and musical choices. In performing it helps me to sense when I am connecting (or not) with the audience.

Watching my father, until recently a hugely strong man, struggle to lift even a mug of tea because of the effects of the chemotherapy he's undergoing.

Some good insights and sad ideas for songs here, especially @Donna Devine's full list. I guess my point is that if you are easily touched by things, keep track of what got you. And even analyze a bit if it's not obvious. Like for #13 in my list, it was the fact that the guy kept a hospital bag under his bed that got me, because it felt like a little symbol of hope in a precarious situation where you have no control. And so, you could probably write a really good song centered around that hospital bag and the emotions that go along with it. And I think you can apply that sort of zeroing in to any emotional situation, positive or negative, for creative purposes.

-Edit: Actually I just realized, even if you're not super sensitive, you can still do this by keeping track of things that randomly make you really sad or really happy, and try to figure out what it was exactly that made you feel that way.

For me the most recent was, during the January 6 Committee opening meeting, when a Republican congressman thanked the Capitol Police for "Holding The Line" and protecting our elected officials thus allowing them to carry out their constitutional duty of transferring power to the newly (and fairly) elected president. These brave officers faced a violent mob of traitors on January 6. And now these officers face an angry mob of GOP elected officials and right-wing propaganda so their suffering continues. This is a sad time for our country.

If I really need a good cry all I have to do is watch the ending of Big Fish.

@Donna Devine mentioned Hafiz - I love him! I get overwhelmed with joy by his poems. Rumi does that to me, too.
@Kurtis Kanttila - "Drive All Night," indeed! On that same album, "Point Blank" and "Wreck on the Highway." So many Springsteen songs pack a deeply emotional wallop for me - my first true rock and roll hero.

What made me find this thread was an experience this morning I want to share. Usually, I listen to Apple Music in the car, but today I dug through my glove compartment to see what CDs were in there. I put on Harvest Moon by Neil Young, and the very first song, "Unknown Legend," affected my deeply but not unexpectedly.
It's a beautiful song, but it was the personal feelings associated with it that did it to me. I fell in love with that album in the early 90s - which seems not that far away but is more than half my life ago. I used to play that song on guitar with friends I've fallen out of touch with, including one who took his own life.
And tomorrow, my daughter heads back for her second year of college. Last August, her departure began a tailspin into anxiety and depression. I'm trying real hard to not let that happen again - through therapy, yoga, exercise, and music.
I wrote a couple of lines for a new song about all this, but I thought I'd share here, too.

@Chip Withrow Those are amazing songs. The sequence of "Drive All Night" into "Wreck On The Highway" kills me. What a way to end a record. "Wreck On The Highway" plays out like the narrator in "Drive All Night" meets a tragic end.

"Independence Day" is a gut wrencher as well. On the same record as "Sherry Darling", "Ramrod" and "You Can Look" as well! The River has insane range.

Bruce is my ultimate musical hero for the power his songs pack. I've had a good cry to "Backstreets" as well which has my favorite lyrics of all time. It's the ultimate story of losing your naive youthful spirit and realizing you're not as special and different as you thought.

One time I was driving and listening to it and I just lost it near the end. Bruce put so much heart or...ahem...HEA-EA-EA-EART AND SOUL...into his music. No one else comes remotely close to having that same emotional impact on me.

@Chip Withrow Thanks for sharing! And I hope your strategies are able to keep up your mental health.

I do think as songwriters and music lovers, songs are always going to be one of the biggest emotional experiences for us, and they can definitely inspire further songs. But it is also interesting about personal life experiences, and stories we hear about (real or fiction) sparking big emotions and then sparking songs that maybe haven't been done before.

Honestly? Watching YouTubers sipping cocktails in a cruise ship pool, reminding myself of more carefree days pre-Covid. I just want to have some fun again!

My hubby has Alzheimer's. A friend has organized a walk team, "Team McQ", to honor him the past couple years. Her husband died unexpectedly last week. I thought maybe she'd pull back from the Alzheimer's walk which is coming up soon. I read her husband's obit, and she's asking for memorials to go to "Team McQ". In the midst of her grief for her husband she's continuing to honor mine. I was overwhelmed and cried. My eyes fill with tears still as I tell you about it.

I don't like crying so I generally avoid this stuff, but the movie "Cowboys" made me tear up in a couple of places.

toy story 3 mad me blub so much and i couldnt stop, struck a geyser. Big Fish is my fave film and i love the end and yes it is an easy cry. I also can cry at mundanely sentimental ads. (eg the inclusion of a rabbit shaped jelly mould in a shopping till - every little helps) there are different flavours of crying, sentimental, sad, angry, fearful, panicky, happy, proud.... my last crying session was this week - of the panicky crying type, my dear friend has covid and i totally lost my perspective

cts's picture

I don't cry easily but there are 3 movies that pull my heart strings constantly whenever I watch them (two of which I have viewed last week). #1 - the final scene of the Mambo Kings were Caesar (Armand Asante) sings the bolero, "Beautiful Maria of My Soul". There's a montage of him and Nestor (Antonio Banderas) recapping their rise to success; and towards the end of the song Caesar realizes who he really loved. You could see it in his eyes. #2 - the 3rd act of Avengers: Endgame. All of the heroes have been defeated and the only one left standing against Thanos' army is Captain America. He knows there is no way he can win, but he's going to try and then suddenly he hears his friend Sam say to him, "on your left". To me that moment is a capstone of their friendship and the relief over his face when he sees that he's not alone and he has help. #3 - The 3rd act of The Wizard of Oz...just the entire thing...tears flowing....every single time.


Prayers for your dad. My heart goes out to you.


I cried in Avengers Endgame: When Tony Stark (Ironman) died! Why! It was a very sad movie.