This post is going to be all over the place, but the sappy little story at the end of it will hopefully make reading this rambling stuff at the top worth it.
I love music. I love it. And I have zero musical talent. I can’t play an instrument. I can’t really dance. I can’t sing, but I LOVE to sing…alone…in the car or the shower or while vacuuming the floor while my son’s at school and J’s at work and it’s just me and the doggo here. Our dog is especially fond of Motown and power ballads from the 1980s…Mr. Mister…Journey…Foreigner…’I wanna know what love iiiiiiisssss…I want you to show meeeee…’ (Sorry.)
And I have never wanted to perform. But neither talent nor the desire to perform are required to love and appreciate music. I love it. I enjoy jazz and classical symphonies and piano concertos and bluegrass and even rock riffs with no lyrics, but I’ve always had an attraction to song lyrics. It’s the words. I’ve always been drawn to words. The way they sound. Their context. What they mean and how the tone and context can change meaning. It’s how a songwriter can tell a story in 4 minutes with just a couple hundred words (I’ve never been able to do that, and I admire it greatly). It’s the mastery of rhyme and meter. All kinds of music with lyrics…folk…rap…alt rock/grunge…soul…I love clever lyrics. I love emotional lyrics. I have an affinity for words and I tend to remember them, particularly song lyrics, because it’s words to music. I use words. I love words. It’s probably why I like to write so much myself. Usually, I’m drawn to songs because the lyrics connect me with feelings and moments in my life, which is why I tend to reference songs in my writing a lot, both fiction and nonfiction.
But this is a long lead in to a story about one song where the lyrics are almost totally irrelevant for taking me to a moment in memory. The song was actually a part of the moment. It attached itself…I didn’t make the connection in my head.
Like I said…I love music and song lyrics and *singing,* but I normally keep that totally to myself, like I do a lot of things…personal things, happy things, traumatic things, meaningful things…I just generally keep to myself and am alone a lot. And I’m wordy, which is weird. I like words, but I rarely use them out loud and I never EVER sing in front of people. Even J. I always sing alone. I’ve almost always ever sung alone, even in childhood, and definitely in adulthood. Except this one time…
Five Octobers ago, one of J’s close friends got married and it was a destination wedding in Daytona, Florida. It was the first trip we took together without our son since we became parents, and it was a pretty great trip for a lot of reasons. Wedding (I’m a lovey sap), warm beach in October, lots of alone and quiet time with J. So maybe it’s weird that one of the most pronounced fond memories of that long weekend trip was on the twelve hour plus straight through drive home. We’d waited for a table for dinner in a restaurant for almost an hour, we were already tired, and J had to drive us in a rental car through some admittedly terrifying winding, unlit mountain roads in the dark. When we were finally back on a well lit freeway, Glycerine by Bush came on the satellite radio.
And J sang it with me.
J isn’t a ‘belt it on out in the car’ guy. Probably not even when he’s alone. In fact…he messes up the lyrics of songs A LOT. He’s that guy that thinks Credence Clearwater Revival is saying ‘There’s a bathroom on the right’ in Bad Moon Rising. So…that was for me. He sang a duet. In the car. With me.
And now whenever I hear Glycerine, that scene plays in my head: J singing with me in the car. I love the way music can take me back to moments like that, and some songs really are like the soundtrack of my life.
So I write sappy love stories all the time now, and Valentine’s Day is only slightly more than a month away, and I’m trying to get a new story out to release for publishing by then (it may end up being a short story never published before offered here for free instead of a novel then, but I can promise something). And I love love songs. So I think I’m going to feature a love song with lyrics I like here every day until Valentine’s Day leading up to new fiction writing. Some of them are the songs that played in my head when writing some of my fiction. Some of them are attached to moments in my own real life. Some of them are just sets of words that make me smile, or I admire the writing. And I’d love to hear from any of you about songs that touch your life and/or your favorite love songs. So contact me if you’d like to share.