At the beginning of this series of posts, I talked about how much I love music, especially the lyrics of songs, because I love the way a songwriter can tell a story in 5 minutes or less with just a couple of hundred words. I really do love that and admire it and sometimes envy it. I’m just blown away by that ability. I love words and I have a bit of an uncanny memory for words, but I actually don’t think in words. I know that’s a totally bizarre thing for a writer to say, but it’s true. I think in metaphors and pictures. So when I hear songs, I’m not only hearing the words and the music, but in my head, I can see that entire story playing out like a movie. When I write, that’s what I’m doing. I’m transcribing the movie that’s playing in my head and putting it down in words. And since I think in pictures and metaphor, I connect things up in my brain a lot. Things that maybe don’t seem connected on the surface…that maybe a ‘normal’ person wouldn’t even make a connection between.
When I’m writing a story, I’m usually listening to music, and my musical taste is all over the board, so what I’m writing often gets colored by whatever I’m listening to at the time. I was on a Vance Joy binge when I was writing Unscripted and Unedited. He has two songs that I can’t separate from Max and Samantha when I hear them. If you’ve read those books, I hope you see the connections I made. When I heard these songs as I was writing this story, I saw the story Vance Joy told in them unfurl in greater detail in my head. I’m going to write another post in a few days about another song that I connect with Max and Sam, and it’s even more…traditionally a love ballad than these Vance Joy ones today. Like, it’s a Middle School Slow Dance song. Seriously.
For those who’ve read the books, it might feel strange to think of my weightiest, most complicated, and arguably most serious couple dynamic, and by far the most ‘adult’ material I’ve ever written into a love story with peppy, upbeat, and maybe even sugary sweet pop love songs, but…listen to the lyrics and you’ll get it (I hope).
This first one I saw as kind of a duet (even though this version is not a duet) that both Max and Sam felt/lived…Fire and the Flood.
My favorite line in this one is in the chorus:
“Everything is fine when your head’s resting next to mine.”
I feel that way about J. I hope he feels that way about me too. Life can be hard. My anxiety can run amok and make life even harder than it really should be. But knowing I get to lay down at night next to J…whatever it is, is not that bad. I know everything’s gonna be ok eventually. Everything’s ok in that moment when his head’s resting next to mine. And I feel like Max and Sam have that same kind of ‘as long as we’re here together, we’ll figure it out,’ kind of thing happening together too.
And this one kind of sounds like something Max would say to Samantha when she’s worried about being too much or not enough in general, but particularly for him…Mess is Mine.
My favorite line in this one is in the bridge:
“Bring me to your house; tell me ‘sorry for the mess.’ Hey, I don’t mind.”
I apologize a lot. For expressing needs and desires and feelings. For things that might make J and other people I care about feel bad, or uncomfortable, even when I had nothing to do with it. I apologize for things I like. For…existing. This is a behavioral trait a lot of people with anxiety and a lot of women in general have. I know this. And I’ve been consistently working on NOT apologizing for just being myself or for needing or wanting anything or for having feelings or for things that aren’t my fault for years. I still do it, even with all the work. Unnecessary apologizing is a really hard habit to curb. But I do it much less frequently with J than with other people. Because he’s always kind of said that line to me, just not with that exact phrasing. And he’s never told me it wasn’t a mess, either. A lot of folks do that and think it’s supportive love…telling you what you want to hear…benevolent dishonesty.
‘Sorry for the mess.’
‘Oh, it’s not a mess!’
But…you know it kind of is. To YOU it is. J has always done, ‘Hey, I don’t mind,’ instead. Like…yeah, it’s a mess. So what? It’s you. So I don’t mind. Like…I’m allowed to be a mess sometimes and he loves me anyway. That part of Max and how he treats Sam came directly from J and how he’s always treated me.
Unscripted and Unedited are on sale in ebook format for $.99 a copy for the next week.
(A reminder that these works contain decidedly ADULT content, and particularly Unedited may contain *controversial* content. There’s the disclaimer.)