Sunday, September 22, 2013

Playlist for A Perfect Mess

Have you had a chance to listen to my playlist? Songs are so powerful and my hero and his brothers are all singers and musicians.

The minute I started writing A Perfect Mess set in Louisiana, I knew that music was going to play a role in the book. That my hero was going to be musically inclined. How did I know that about him? Because Booker Outlaw lives in the part of the country that makes wonderful music and he has Cajun relatives on his mother’s side of the family. The ‘let the good times roll’ laid back, fun-loving people of Acadia know how to make some lively music and some very melancholy music.

Blue Bayou by Eccentric Scholar on Flickr
 As soon as I started to assemble a playist, I knew Blue Bayou had to be on there. Not just any rendition of it though. I had to have Linda Ronstadt’s version. It was like greeting an old friend when I heard that song again. Not only is it beautiful but it tells a mini-story that an author can totally appreciate.

We all have songs that are so wrapped around our lives that they stop being just songs and become something else. Something more integral to us, like extra DNA, or special blood.

Sometimes songs make us laugh, sometimes cry and sometimes they really inspire us and make us think. Music really speaks to us, settling into our lives like a good friend. And that's the thing about music, anyway. It's yours. Films and books with their narrative work totally on a different level. It’s totally visual and, although, music adds to the experience, it’s mostly the eyes that absorb the story. But it’s not like the ownership of music. We make a place for ourselves inside music and music has that special place for us to be. It’s up to our individuality to understand a guitar's howl, a plunging bassline, an intake of breath in any way we want. We can take that meaning with us, and let it fill us up.

When we give ourselves over to music, music shapes itself to whatever pattern we need.

With the availability of music it may seem that it has lost some of its power. But I don’t think so. People still listen to music for that power, for the emotions that piece of music evoke. It speaks to who we are fundamentally and I don’t think that will ever change. Music is still as potent as ever. Music can untangle our feelings better than we ever can.

We may wonder often how a vibration of air waves, a combination of lyrics and meaning, reach so deeply into our beings, stir up feelings of fear and fight and remorse and delight and sex. But we still respond to it. Sometimes we wonder how does music do that? And, sometimes we just listen to Josh Groban singing in Italian. Even though we don’t understand the words, he touches us. And, we cry.