“You know, one of the tragedies of real life is that there is no background music.”
That quote from author Annie Proulx says it all—life would be so much cooler with a soundtrack, wouldn’t it? I mean, let’s be honest, at one time or another, we’ve all imagined our lives already have a soundtrack, right?
For me, music makes everything—including writing—better. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love any and all genres of music. As a writer, it ignites my imagination and my muse. I have been known to write entire scenes that were sparked by one line in a love song, and every story I’ve written contains lyrics or references to songs (although that will change as each story gets published). Each has its own playlist, and I can easily recall the way the songs impacted my writing. I still listen to Sanctuary’s playlist while I edit or futz around with other self-publishing tasks
A couple of examples: the title of my debut novel, Sanctuary, came from the song And So It Goes, which is and always will be my favorite song by Billy Joel. The lyrics struck a heartwarming chord, and it seemed a fitting choice.
Going a bit further back, the very first story I wrote was a modern Pride and Prejudice variation called Dance the Tide, which featured a guitar-playing Will Darcy. It was posted online at a couple of fan fiction sites, and at one point in the story, he surprises Elizabeth Bennet at a bar (during an exceedingly low point in their relationship) and sings to her. For that particular scene, I included the song I Won’t Give Up, by Jason Mraz. It had all the right lyrics and all the feels to put readers into Will’s frame of mind. The simple, heartfelt words effectively communicated his sorrow, his longing, his heartbreak—and his hope.
Dance the Tide was posted online almost ten years ago, but every once in a while, I’ll get a message from a reader who says, “I just heard that song again, and every time I hear it, I think of your story and that scene.”
Music has the ability to evoke specific emotions or images or memories, and they, in turn, help to provide some of the inspiration and vision that enable me to create a story. For me, that’s the power of music.
I’ve included And So It Goes and I Won’t Give Up for your listening pleasure! I hope you enjoy them.