Writing the post on music got me thinking. What would my characters’ soundtracks be like? What are their favorite bands? What do they dance to in the kitchen? (Yes, I do this a lot.) What would be on a road trip playlist? What are their favorite drinking songs? What songs do they listen to when they’re angry, sad, or happy?
We all have soundtracks. The songs that mark passages in time. The songs that bind us to others. The songs that define us.
Keeping this in mind, I gave myself an assignment. I gathered a few of my characters in a room and threw out a question. I wrote it as if I were eavesdropping on their conversation, transcribing the words and actions as they happened. When I was done, I decided to share it with all of you.
What are your favorite bands?
Conlin – I’m fairly eclectic. Tool, Fugazi, Johnny Cash, Zepplin, Tom Waits, Duke Ellington.
Dru – Conman will listen to anything.
Conlin (shrugs) – If it’s good music, it’s good music. At least I branch out.
Dru – Hey, I branch out.
Conlin (laughs) – Yeah, right. What from sludge to death?
Dru (suddenly very serious) – There are all types of metal, man.
Conlin – But it’s still all metal, Dru.
Dru – I have not educated you enough, my friend. Every single metal band, if it’s good metal, is distinct. You have your classic metal – Black Sabbath, Pantera, Metallica, well, the Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets era. Then you get into the ‘90s. Rage Against the Machine. Deftones. System of a Down. All unique. Crowbar’s from New Orleans. They’re what you call sludge metal. And you can’t leave out Meshuggah. They will blow your mind. Trash metal, death metal, math metal, call it what you will, they are the shit, man. And if you really want dark and twisted, try Cannibal Corpse. They –
Kasey (cutting Dru off) – Really, Conlin. You had to get Cheeto all riled up and waxing poetic?
Conlin – It’s too easy, Kase. Far too easy. (winks)
Dru – You suck, Conman. And you, rat, shouldn’t talk. If it isn’t Radiohead, it’s crap, right?
Kasey – So? I’m a bit obsessive with Radio-
Dru – A bit? Kasey you followed them around the country. Twice!
Kasey – There’s nothing wrong with that. I had the time and –
Dru – The stalker inclination…
Kasey – Not a stalker. I just like the music.
Dru – To excess.
Kasey – You can’t OD on Radiohead, so let me have me my fix. Besides I dig a lot of different stuff, like old school Kraftwerk, for instance.
Dru (rolls his eyes) – You mean, Crapwerk.
(Kasey jumps up from her chair and whacks Dru on the arm.)
Dru – Ouch, rat. You are stronger than you look. That hurt.
Kasey – Good. (Kasey grabs a Mountain Dew and flops back down in her chair.) What about you, Izz?
Izzy – The Black Keys and Heartless Bastards are on permanent rotation at the moment, but I’m a Texan, so Willie resides in my heart and soul. There’s nothing better.
I really enjoyed writing this little vignette. It was fun and gave me insight into my characters. Also of note, certain characters demanded floor time. It’s always interesting to me whose voice will command attention in any given scene. Kasey and Dru yelled the loudest this go-round.