Music helps me delve into the heart of a scene, setting the tone and pace. Perhaps this comes from my origins in theater. Whenever I do a play, I create a soundtrack for my character. I play it throughout the rehearsal process and each night before I go onstage.
Music has always been a huge part of my life. A song can take me to an exact moment in my life and suddenly I am there again. I can almost taste and touch the moment. I hear Blondie and I am roller skating around my cul-de-sac, all arms and legs and Farah hair and uncertainty. I hear the B-52’s and my heart is racing as I fumble in the dark, making out with a boy for the first time. I hear Van Morrison and I am crying as my best friend travels hundreds of miles away. I hear The Proclaimers and I am walking down the aisle hand-in-hand, having just said, “I do.”
The soundtrack of my life is how I mark time. Someone will ask when an event took place and all I have to do is associate music with the event, and I know exactly the time and place it occurred.
As I wrote Isolde’s Fire, certain music just worked. There really wasn’t a rhyme or reason. Some was new music; some was old. One day nothing seemed to work until I drug out an old Belly album and suddenly I was in the groove.
So for those musical fanboys and fangirls, like me, here are the albums that were in frequent rotation while I wrote.
The Decemberists – Picaresque & Hazards of Love
The xx – xx
Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials & Lungs
The Duke Spirit – Bruiser
The Black Keys – Brothers
Phantogram – Eyelid Movies
Thao & Mirah – Thao & Mirah
Belly – Star
Magnet – On Your Side
I’m not sure what it was about these albums that clicked for me. There was a lot of other music I was listening to that didn’t work while I wrote. I’m curious what the next soundtrack will be. Will some albums appear again? Or will they forever be associated with book one? I know I can’t hear The xx without having Conlin and Izzy whispering in my ear. Their story is most definitely not done. Mayhaps in book two The xx will slip into rotation when I focus on them, like having their own theme song.