Music has always been an incredible influence in my life for as long as I can remember. It has the power to calm my soul, express joy, release the river of sorrow, vent anger, share love, and more. For every emotion I’ve felt in my life, there is a song to express it. Sometimes no words are necessary … the melody of some pieces speak to my core and I feel it in ways I lack the power to state. But maybe because I am a writer, for songs with lyrics, the lyrics are extremely important to me. The message of the song and the music need to go together to fully capture the feeling of the moment.
I started piano lessons before my feet touched the pedals and often when emotion overwhelmed, I’d run to the piano and pound the emotions out and released them from my body with the vibrations of the strings. We had an old upright and I’d prop open the front so I could watch the hammers strike the wires — something fascinated me about the reverberation. Later I took up brass instruments, playing trumpet, french horn, baritone, and very briefly the tuba. So as I grew older, when I needed to relieve my feelings, I’d grab my (french) horn and let the music speak for me. And if alone, or in the shower, I’d sing whatever song said what I wished I had the words for and I’d put my heart and soul into belting it out.
I guess it’s not really a big surprise that music plays a big part in my writing process. Sometimes I find the emotion from my characters in a lyric or the melody line. For me, find the right song, or list of songs, and the characters open up and the words flow. I go into a zone and I’m pretty sure the walls could fall down and I might wonder what fell over. Music gives me a direct connection from me to my characters — and they ALL have such different tastes, it’s a good thing I have eclectic musical tastes.
Today a good friend posted a song to my timeline because she felt it would resonate with me because of what is going on in my personal life at the moment. It is one I hadn’t heard before, but one listen and I knew I had a song I needed to add to my collection (and more than one character piped up and asked for it to be added to their playlists as well.) Had I run across this song while writing Speak No Evil I have no doubt it would have been on the playlist and would have been running on a loop throughout the book. Melody is the character who most closely mirrors my love of music and views it as an emotional outlet, the same as I do.
And of any character I have ever written, Melody Fisher is the one who has most needed a Fight Song, just as I do. Thanks to Rebecca Platten for writing such a heartfelt song from a dark place in her life. It’s a song I’ll borrow to proclaim my belief that I’m winning the fight I have ahead. I have too much to accomplish, too many books to write, too many characters to get to know, and too much life to live to give up now. 🙂
I loved the image at the top combining things that captured me as a child. Music and blowing the florets from the dandelion seed head as I made wishes I was sure were going to come true. Whimsical.