Thursday, May 27, 2010
Shuffling the soundtrack
The file was open on my desktop (step one). The radio played softly in the background. I'd just poured a fresh Diet Coke with a splash of whiskey, and handsome hubby was finishing off the last of dinner's dishes (yeah, I'm lucky like that).
Prime. Writing. Time.
Then wham! A familiar Goo Goo Dolls song filtered through the living room and somehow infected my muse with an insatiable urge to watch a movie. Not just any flick, but City of Angels - the very movie featuring the very song playing on my stereo.
I fought the urge, albeit with little enthusiasm.
Handsome husband was drying the last plate when I turned to him and asked: Hey, have you seen City of Angels? He scrunched his nose a bit, shook his head - and I read his mind. Chick flick? I softened it with: It's got Nic Cage in it.
And just like that, the laptop lid is closed, I'm downing the drink, my radio's off, there's a box of Kleenex at my side, and the City of Angels DVD is plugged in and ready.
Oh how easily my muse is distracted.
As I tossed and turned before succumbing to sleep last night, I thought about the power of that Goo Goo Dolls song. The lyrics are powerful and obviously perfect for the movie: I'd give up forever to touch you. (swoon) My reaction upon hearing them was instant.
This isn't the first time music has compelled (or distracted) me. When I hear Goodbye Horses by Q Lazarus I think of Silence of the Lambs. If I hear a Ramstein song, I want to watch XXX - though, a picture of Vin Diesel will do that as well. And I've watched Twilight a couple of times after hearing the soundtrack echo from my stepdaughter's room. One of my favourite movies is Streets of Fire, partially because I love Diane Lane, partially because I love Michael Pare, and mostly because I love, love, love the music. It's a rock and roll fable! How cool is that? (Also, it reminds me of my youth, because my sister and I watched it every year when we were kids. That and Hot Dog. I was a crappy babysitter...)
When I write, I listen to music. But it's often my character's soundtrack. Jagger, for instance, loves Audioslave and I think I'd be hard-pressed to sing a single line from an Audioslave song. Mario likes Madonna - and, um, Marilyn Manson. I know, he's eclectic. And although Nico has probably never heard a Muse song, that's what is playing in the background when I'm pushing through the confessional scenes.
Sometimes I wonder if later, when the novel is complete and hopefully on the shelf, will certain songs remind me of its creation? Is there a single song that will become the song?
How about you? Do you write/work to music? Do any songs make you want to dance? sing? watch a specific movie? What are the songs that make up the soundtrack of your life?
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Isn't it crazy how songs like that can bring you somewhere? I know exactly the song you're refering to and when I hear it, it brings me back to my senior year in highschool- Their lead singers raspy rock voice was to DIE for! and he was cute too. Yeah, I love romance rock.ReplyDelete
CQG - romance rock...what a GREAT name for it. Yeah, I was a total Goo Goo Dolls fan. He does have a sexy voice and he was very cute.ReplyDelete
omg - i've always felt like such a FREAK for loving that q lazarus song, especially considering what buffalo bill is doing while it plays.ReplyDelete
and i do a MEAN ellen aim impersonation, haha.
i usually make playlists when i start my novel to help me get into my characters' heads, but i find that once i'm there the music becomes too much of a distraction if it's too familiar. i need a bit of white noise while writing.
Mi - I just fell in love with you. I HEART Ellen Aim! I can pretty much quote that movie and know the words to all of the songs. And if you're a freak for loving the Q song, we can be freaks together :-)ReplyDelete
Did I ever tell you that I served the Goo Goo Dolls when I worked at the Old Spaghetti Factory?? It was my 2nd training shift. They were awesome :)ReplyDelete
haha, i found my new best friend!ReplyDelete
Meaghan - you did NOT tell me that. I am officially MORE jealous of you than I was before knowing this.ReplyDelete
Mi - *soul mates* :-P
I generally write in the living room while at home, so sometimes I put music on to drown out the TV the kids have on. Otherwise I get sucked into iCarly or SpongeBob or some other eyesore. I'm easily distracted apparently!ReplyDelete
Vicki - I totally hear you about being sucked into SpongeBob. Between that and the Wizards of Waverly Place it's amazing I get anything done ;-)ReplyDelete
that selena gomez is as cute as a button, though.ReplyDelete
I couldn't even begin to list the songs of the soundtrack of my life. But when writing, especially my most recent novel, ABBA and any of the pop wonders of the late '70s did it for me since that was the time frame of my story.ReplyDelete
I don't write to music. I suffer from split attention. I end up singing the song in my head, focusing on the music and I'm not able to write.ReplyDelete
But when I'm not writing, I'm a big Goo Goo Dolls fan!
that is one of my all time favorite movies! I have the soundtrack also. And twilight..yep..very coooool mood music! I try to have that going when I write, It mellows me..it has to be really loud too :)ReplyDelete
Mi - LOL. And have you heard her sing? Voice of an angel...ReplyDelete
Wendy - I have a friend who wrote a book in that time period and found the hits of that decade to be quite inspirational. How fun!
Suzanne - when I write, I kind of prefer songs I don't know very well. If I'm REALLY in the zone, I can zone out pretty much everything (except 24 of course).
Sugar - it IS a great movie. Definitely one of my top "chick flicks" - though my list keeps growing. Stephanie Myers did Muse a huge favour by acknowledging the band so much in her work.
I want my music when I want music. I write in silence, except, of course, when I'm out and about and elevator music fills the air, then I tune out and tap away on my laptop.ReplyDelete
Sliding - Ah yes, elevator music. Whose job is it to butcher those once amazing songs?! Thanks for stopping by :-)ReplyDelete
There's a whole playlist of songs from the mid 70's that can instantly transport me back to the mid 70's, summer in Florida with my cousins, cruising the beaches... James Taylor - How Sweet It Is, Wings - Listen to What the Man Said and (shamefully) Muskrat Love by Captain & Tennile. Stuff from the 80's reminds me of being a new wife and mother.ReplyDelete
Oh, I haven't watched City of Angels in ages.ReplyDelete
Did you husband like it? Mine hated it.
I always write to music.
Great post/blog. :)
Random - GREAT songs! Are you a lyric analyzer? My husband says when we are having a "disagreement" I tend to listen to songs that are "sad" which isn't exactly true. I think that's just when he starts paying attention to what I'm listening to :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks Lola! A tricky question - he seemed distracted and GUESSED the ending (gasp) but today mentioned something about the "beautiful" movie we watched together. He's either bribing me for a back rub or he's had the movie on his brain today.
Great post! I can't write or code websites to anything with lyrics, so, if I listen to anything at all, it's mostly jazz or classical. Although, someone I follow on Twitter has recently turned me on to video game music - and I'm not a gamer.ReplyDelete
Loved the soundtrack to City of Angels. I saw the original film it was based on, Wings of Desire. It had a totally different ending, so the end of C of A really shocked me.
Glinda - video game music? That sounds interesting. I'm not a gamer either. There are times when classical and jazz are perfect for scenes.ReplyDelete
I'll have to check out Wings of Desire - I didn't know City of Angels was based on another movie. Even though I KNOW the ending of C of A, I always cry :-(
When I was sixteen I had my first breakup, Lloyd, a Florida boyfriend who couldn't wait a year for me to return. I listened to the Greatest Hits of Bread over and over again. I can't hear a Bread song without feeling vulnerable. Gone with the Wind also has a soundtrack for me.... Best of Three Dog Night, which was looping endlessly on my 8-track when I read that book. I tend to be a compulsive about stuff I love.ReplyDelete
Random - amazing how many songs I can pair up with "loss" somehow. I'm similar to you in that I can also become compulsive about stuff I love. Lloyd is probably kicking himself now :-)ReplyDelete
Wow, I totally get you. I dont know if its weird, but I can´t listen to music when Im writting, it messes my mojo.ReplyDelete
However, when Im drawing, I HAVE to listen to songs, and my best works come out because of a good soundtrack. My drawing muse is fun, and my writting muse is not I guess =)
I listen to so many favorite new wave and alternative songs when I write. They inspire and motivate me to sit down and write.ReplyDelete
Moazart's Jupiter! Is that pretentious to select a classical piece?? hahah i like Jamie Foxx too though when I'm drivingReplyDelete
Clara - I DO understand about messing with the mojo...that's how I feel about the TV being on while I'm trying to write. Sigh. I wish I could draw...ReplyDelete
Medeia - I need all the help I can get with motivation. Congrats on finding your system :-)
CSR - not pretentious! One of my best friends writes to classical music. Depending on what I'm working on, I can steer that way, too. Thanks for popping by - I LOVE your blog.