"When I heard the music, it made pictures in my head. These are the pictures." ~Walt Disney
The role of music in my work cannot be ignored.
I've been following the blog and tweets (@JMTohline) of JM Tohline. He had two posts on the topic of music, and the playlists we create to accompany the literary work we do (here's one... and the other).
Ara's Tangents: His twitter short stories are fantastic. Here's one: The debutante scratched her butt. The end. Here's another: She put on a Bill Clinton mask and came out of the bathroom. She had never looked better. The end. You owe it to yourself to follow him. His first novel, The Great Leonore, will be released Summer of 2011. I'm looking forward to it.
I wanted to share my madness with you. I'm a picture-driven type of person. If I can't see it (biological eyes or mind's eye), I can't create an effective scene. Music, like actual images, creates very real images for me. It is not an underestimation to say that some musicians have forever altered me--I am haunted by their words and their melodies.
When the seed for my story, Aces, was planted, I was in Paris on a business trip. I immediately took out my iPad and found some music that seemed complimentary to the type of story that was growing in my head [for those wondering, it's a love story]. As soon as I had the music going, I started mind-mapping the opening scene.
The music was from Colbie Caillat's Break Through and Coco CDs (Break Through, Oxygen, The Little Things, Realize and Bubbly). As I listened to those songs over and over (and over... 11 hour flight-- give me some slack here!), the personalities, the conflicts, the possibility all rushed at me. I was not able to write and draw fast enough. Needless to say, that as soon as I was back in LA, I bought everything Colbie I could find on iTunes (54 songs if you're keeping track).
With that, my play list started. I added about three dozen Chris Issak songs. About 80 Beatles songs, and then a bunch of one offs that felt right to me. If I heard something at the beach while hanging out, or at the market, I bought the song then added it to my playlist. My playlist includes songs from P!nk, Billy Joel, Kelly Clarkson, Sarah McLachlin, Sting... and more.
Ara's Tangents: If anyone knows Ms. Caillat and Mr. Isaak, can you ask them to collaborate on an album for me? Thanks. I owe you one!
My story starts in Paris, then travels to Malibu, then to London and finally ends in Barcelona. When I reached the Barcelona scenes, I had to tap into memories of my youth when we lived there. I found songs from Julio Iglesias and Peppino Galiardi that at the time were very popular. The music brought back memories, scents, faces.
Ara's Tangents: Peppino Galiardi? Who dat? The first person who can name that tune from Peppino that was popular in 1978 will get an autographed copy of a blank piece of paper... if I had something more valuable I would sign that.
A couple of people told me that my novel reads like a movie script (undoubtedly under the influence of expensive vodka). They can see the places, the faces and the storyline. If the Book Gods smile on my novel and it gets published, and if said book became a movie, I would ask the Director to remember the music that brought it all together. Since dreaming is free, I might as well dream big!