The Soundtrack of My Life

photo-44(A re-post of the recent blog I wrote for Women and Words…)

You guys, I love to dance. Alone in my living room with no one watching, I am quite simply a rock star of dancing. I feel you should know this about me. You wouldn’t believe my mad skills and I can tell you that my fictional audience whole-heartedly agrees. But the sad reality is…I have no rhythm. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, and something I just have to face. But boy, am I passionate in my efforts.

This level of enjoyment might be why both of the books I’ve written thus far have featured dancing. Jenna in Waiting in the Wings is an amazing dancer. She’s paid money to do it. (Yes, I was projecting). Sarah, from my new release, Heart Block, is a little more like me. Full of spirit, but lacking any sort of real talent or training. (She gets me).

But with dancing comes music, which seems to be a constant presence in anything and everything I do. My life has a soundtrack and I happen to like it.

When I Christmas shop, I can’t help but notice that the store’s music always seems to coincide with my mood. When I find that perfect gift, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year blasts through the store as I skip down the aisles, swinging my packages to and fro. But when I’m at a Christmas gift loss, unable to find anything to suit my present buying needs, something slow and soulful like What Child Is This always seems to underscore my quest. It has me moving slowly through the store, alone with my very raw, very real feelings. “How does the music know?” I whisper reverently to myself.

I’m also a pretty regular runner, generally four to five times a week. In complete contrast to dancing, I hate running. I like having ran. I hate to run. Make sense to you? Me neither. I’m complicated. And grammatically challenged. But as luck would have it, music gets me through this necessary hardship. Starting with a little Eye of the Tiger gets my blood pumping, gets me thinking that I, too, can be like Rocky. Hell, I am Rocky. A segue into Survivor by Destiny’s Child throws a little sass into the mix and makes me feel like a strong woman who won’t be taken down by anyone, no she won’t!  Stronger by Christina Aguilera makes me just want to jump off the treadmill and dance again, but I’m pretty sure Christina would jump out of the iPod and kick my ass so I run on.

Writing is not that different. I was talking to author, Erin Dutton, not too long ago and she said something that had me super intrigued and jealous at the same time. When she writes, she gives each main character their own playlist. It helps to get her head in the right place and sets the mood for writing that particular character. I was impressed and a little down trodden because I didn’t have any playlists for my characters. Why was I not as cool as Erin Dutton? Not only that, but sometimes it’s hard for me to write with any music playing at all. But upon further reflection, it occurred to me to pick myself up off the hard wood floor because a) it’s dirty and b) my writing was influenced by music, and I didn’t even know it. Helplessly, Hopelessly by Jessica Andrews has always made me think of Emory and Sarah from Heart Block. The song just seems to fit. Often throughout the period I was writing them, it got my mind working on their upcoming plot points whenever it would come up on my iPod. I can’t hear it to this day without stopping and thinking of them. And I can easily say that I have a song like this for each book I’ve worked on, including my current project. These songs are special to me. They’re sources of inspiration and get my creative juices flowing in the right direction.

I glance at the clock now and notice that it’s time to start thinking about what I’ll make for dinner.  I’m thinking That’s Amore by Dean Martin is just the ticket to accompany my efforts. You know…and maybe a glass of Chardonnay.

So as you embark on the week ahead, everyone, hum a little tune to yourselves to keep things lively. After all, music makes the world go ‘round.

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