Music and Lyrics
Music is a BIG part of my writing process.
If I need to be transported to a particular place or feel a particular emotion, nothing will get me there faster than a good song. I'm not alone. Stephen King, Emily Giffin, Nicholas Sparks and I am sure many, many others all claim music is a big part of the writing process.
For as long as I can remember, whether it has been angsty sad white lady music (think Sarah McLachlan, Lisa Loeb, anyone that every picked up a guitar at Lilith Fair) or the grit and self-awareness of a Hip Hop record (Nas, Common, Talib Kweli), music has informed my poetry. It reigned in the chaos of my emotions and helped me bleed my most honest thoughts onto a page. When I was falling in love with my hubby, Steve Wonder's Visions sparked words upon words upon words and ultimately inspired the poem I wrote him for our wedding.
My earliest memory of music informing my fiction was when I was in college. I read a statistic about senior citizens having a high rate of suicide. Needless to say, it was troubling. I decided to write a short story for a creative writing class about an older woman's decision to take her own life. The story involved a great deal of fantasy and delusion. The woman kept seeing her dead husband and picturing suitors waiting for her in the living room of her empty house. I was having trouble relating to her so I decided to download a ton of Billy Holiday and other jazz crooners (shout out to Napster in the late 90s) and sat at the desk of my small dorm room trying my best to be transported into her feeble mind.
I remember my roommate asking me what I was doing. I mean, when I wasn't writing, she and I were giving each other facials and doing the running man to Salt N Peppa (she was about 5'0, blonde and from Staten Island, I was 6'0 with box braids and from Queens, Salt N Peppa we were not). I told her and she said, "Awesome!" but her eyes totally said, "Crazyyy talkkk..."
I didn't care.
At 19, Billy Holiday made me a 75 year old widow contemplating suicide.
Now as I wade in the throes of my new novel, I am a biracial adolescent teen whose mother is having an affair. My best friends are my 65 year old grandmother and a short Puerto Rican kid with a lisp. I'm moving between my parent's world in Westport, Connecticut and grandmother's world in the Bronx, New York. I am chubby, awkward and desperately seeking attention. Last night, I had sex for the first time with the most popular kid in school breaking the heart of my Puerto Rican best friend who has been pining away for me since we were 11.
And all I could listen to was Fiona Apple's Criminal.
It's a fact, well-written lyrics + a good beat are like a five-course meal for a hungry soul. And it's like a loud speaker beckoning my muse... wherever she may be slinking around at the moment.
Love and Light,