I believe that songwriters are perhaps the most gifted of all writers–across all genres and mediums–for they are the ones to capture an entire moment, memory, milestone or a lifetime in the span of four minutes and breathe real life into it. That’s why songs make us cry, make us laugh, make us dance…because the authors of them hold a gift and they use it perfectly. Songwriters can make it real for you with a simple melody and thoughtful lyrics. They can pull you back to your first kiss, transport you to your senior prom, your wedding day, the day you first saw your child, the moment of your first bittersweet heartbreak, the moment you knew life would go on or even last Saturday night. Every good movie has an amazing score behind it that sets the scene. Every good book was written to playlist. Music is a thread, woven intricately through our lives.
I have fallen in love with Christina Perri. Deeply, madly, truly in love. That girl, now, she’s a songstress. She has the most beautiful voice–earthy, deeply noted, fresh and just plain, old fashion good in the era of auto-tune. She’s a little Anna Nalick, the best of Sarah McLachlan, touches of Jason Mraz, and lull of her own exceptionally unique brand.
Her song, Jar of Hearts, first bled through the speakers on a winding road while I was driving home. From the hook, I needed to know who she was. Her voice, her song–it was magic–it put me back in that moment of bravery, the moment when your heart is broken but you decide to move on because no one has the right to hurt you so much. I downloaded it and was instantly a fan, not simply of the song, but of the artist. Then, as if fate spun in, I found out she was doing the theme song to Breaking Dawn part 1. A Thousand Years…well, now that song may just be my favorite song ever. Being a Twilight fan, owning all of the past soundtracks, I feel Christina was able to hammer home to the heart of Breaking Dawn. She was the perfect person to do this…and she did it very well.
I think we can all learn something, as traditional authors with our thick books and long chapters, from our lyrical counterparts. What they can create in those moments, it is art. They give something. They truly, no matter the subject, can evoke feeling in the reading, as we should evoke feeling in our readers. What they can do magically is bottle it up for us. They don’t need 400 pages, though the effect is often the same. There is something beautiful in the soft, short span of it.
As I begin the second book, I think I’m going to try for a different format, a different rhythm…because I realize, it can be done. Glimpsing life without giving it all away. Give the reader the what matters, pull them in, make it real and make it resonate. THE MILESTONE TAPES isn’t that. It’s a slow build, a small fire that eventually, page by page, grew. Book two, it will be flashes of warmth all the way along.
Do you write to music? Do you learn from it? Does it set the scene of the blank canvas for you? Are you inspired by it?
And as a reader, when you’re reading, do you hear a soundtrack in your mind? Does knowing what the author listened too while writing make the book better for you? Do you wish books came with scores?