Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obsessive Compulsive Mood Music Disorder

My kids are so sick of George and Ira Gershwin. And they don't even know it.

With every bit of fiction I write some sort of music speaks to me and fuels my creative process. For The Ryn it was a combo of Etta James, Celtic new age, Chris Tomlin, and movie soundtracks. For Suspended in Disbelief it was Barlow Girl, specifically the acoustic version of "On My Own", and SuperChick. Now as I write a flashback-heavy saga coming-of-age heartbreak I'm listening to the 1993 Sheena Easton album of classics (several by one or both of the Gershwin boys) entitled No Strings.

The album chronicles the birth, life, and, ultimately, the death of a romantic relationship. Particularly, the poignant lyric and haunting arrangement of the French ballad, If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas) written by Jacques Brel and Rod McKuen rips at my heartstrings. I play the song over and over as I write certain scenes. The song has taken on the life of a Muse; its practically writing its own scenes, just within my more contemporary-ish setting and with my characters. Former pop-princess Easton croons like a 1930s chanteuse, emoting the grief, pleading, and acceptance of the lyric so perfectly. I only wish I spoke French to be able to translate the remaining portion of the lyric.

My Amazon cart also includes a compilation album or two I plan to draw from--songs from the 80s which were such a huge part of my own heartbreaks. And Daughtry--oh, Daughtry. Loss, fear, and hope wrapped up in a song.

I know a lot of other authors depend upon music to fuel their writing. Stephenie Meyer loves the band Muse, James Scott Bell writes to instrumental movie soundtracks. I don't know if other authors are as obsessive about particular songs as I am... but I also don't know if other people are generally as obsessive about ANYTHING as I, in my warped state of mind, am.

Did I mention that Sheena is crooning "How Deep is The Ocean" through my laptop speakers right now????? It is a sickness, I know.

But the sun is shining, my girls just got home from school... 45 minutes ago... so I'm going to go outside and enjoy this new turn in Iowa's bipolar weather.

But I'll probably take my MP3 player out with me. You never can tell what new scenes the Muse will sing to mind.

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