Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Music to Live By—Robin

So, I may be weird, but my life has its own personal soundtrack. Am I alone in this? I just feel there are songs that are the backdrop of our experiences in this world, and so here’s mine: the entire soundtrack to the movie GARDEN STATE.

I just love it. Every time I listen to it I feel so revived. It makes me smile and want to dance. But it also makes me yearn for things I can never have, which is a terrible feeling, but a very human one.

I’m not really sure what my life’s soundtrack was before the GARDEN STATE thing. I suppose I wandered around life singing verses from CARELESS WHISPER by George Michael. Surely, I’m not alone on that one! (“I’m never gonna dance again…guilty feet have got no rhythm.”) Oh, man. It just don’t get any better than that!

Since my own life has its soundtrack, I decided my character in my current book needed one too. Which I don’t think is a totally weird thing to do since I read somewhere that David Levithan and Rachel Cohn listened to certain types of music to get them in the mood to write NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST. It worked for them. I figured I’d do the same.

I first thought of listening to the type of music my character likes to listen to in the book, which is a combination of Bob Marley and The Sex Pistols.
I tried it. Didn’t get me in the mood. Too much of a love/hate thing. Which is what I love about my character, but it wasn’t getting me in the mood to write. (And Jay, please notice I made it all the way through that paragraph without even once mentioning the word ‘ganja.’ Oh, wait. DOH!)

Then I came across a song that speaks so much more to her experience, rather than her tastes. It’s the song MAD WORLD, by Gary Jules (it’s from the soundtrack to the movie Donnie Darko—a weird and amazing movie; it’s also a remake of an original by Tears for Fears, another band that was the backdrop of my 80’s life; and it’s also that song in the new xbox 360 commercial.) I made a document that sits on my desktop with the lyrics to that song, and when I play it I get chills and it brings me to tears…which is when I know I’m ready to write her story.

So what about everyone else? Do you have a theme song? What song would be playing during the closing credits of the movie of your life? If it’s VALLEY GIRL, that’s fine. It was mine before the whole CARELESS WHISPER phase.

Anyways, let me know what your theme song is! (Or your character’s theme song!) Just wondering. That’s what I do.

Oh, and Mom? Surely SOMETHING has come out since the soundtrack to OUT OF AFRICA!? Maybe I’m wrong…
-Robin

7 comments:

Disco Mermaids said...

I played the soundtrack to My So-Called Life quite a bit while writing my novel. Not only is that my fave TV show EVER, but it has a similar atmosphere to what I was trying to accomplish.

- Jay

Anonymous said...

Hi, I listened to my favorite Brooklyn local bands while writing my book. CD's of old timey music by The Jug Addicts (who appeared on the TODAY show this past summer), and the Wiyos. Faux French rock band Les Sans Culottes and Faux Japanese pop band Gaijin a Go-Go. The music gave me the 'flavor'. Alot of the band members also show up as characters and cameos in the art.

You are in great company DM.

Salty Madonna

Anonymous said...

O.k., there's something seriously wrong with me (and it is not a drug addiction), because the three songs that immediately come to mind are: "Comfortably Numb" (Pink Floyd), "Under the Bridge" (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and "Novacaine" (Green Day). All three move me each time I hear them. What's up with that? Lamy

Steph said...

Do you remember that cable series "Freaks and Geeks"? That one "speaks" to me...all of the music from it...although, I don't think I own any of that sort of music...huh.

I remember obessessing (I spelled that wrong I think) about finding a "theme song" when Ally McBeal was out...I think I settled on "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks...coming up on middle age- oh wait, I think I'm there, I may have to find a different one...although thing haven't really changed that much...sigh.

OH! and have y'all tried out out pandora.com? That is where I have some "mood" stations set up and predictable they are; Mavis Staples, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon and Henry Mancini...middle age...

Nancy said...

I remember in college when I needed inspiration to write my thesis I used the soundtrack to The Princess Bride and a mix of old Neil Diamond. I have no idea why those worked, but when I recently tried to use The Princess Bride again, it didn't help me write at all.

Disco Mermaids said...

I love so many of these. I'll have to try them out. Especially the Princess Bride soundtrack!
And Lamy, I had to sing the Comfortably Numb song to Eve to remind her what it was. Which I did very well, even with a cold.
I have a feeling Evie is somewhere right now singing CARELESS WHISPER, but just won't admit it.

-Robin

Disco Mermaids said...

I love love love this post, Robin! Especially because I've been secretly compiling a soundtrack for my new teen romance to get me (and my character) "in the mood" for writing.

And it kind of freaks me out that three things mentioned here totally apply to me...Tears For Fears and Careless Whisper were my junior high soundtracks, Out Of Africa was my grad school soundtrack and Green Day's "American Idiot" is my current one. Freaky-deaky!

Eve