I was daydreaming, enjoying my morning coffee and getting lost in the music at my favorite coffee bar (the Newsbar on University Place) when it occurred to me that, at least for that short period of time, my life had a perfect soundtrack.
In films, music sets the mood of a scene, foreshadows the entrance of a pivotal character, warns of danger and fills in the gaps in conversations. In life, it’s unlikely to be perfectly timed, but when it hits right, it’s great. The classic blues playing while I drank my macchiato brought me back to my childhood when I fell in love with music that was old before I was born. (Yeah, I was a weird kid, but that’s another story.)
Some authors use references to music to carry some of the weight of character development and mood. Peter Robinson, a fine mystery writer, does this in his Inspector Banks series. If you haven’t read any of them, give him a try. I’ve read a bunch, but “In a Dry Season” is the one that still resonates in my imagination.
Getting back to music, one of my favorite blogger/authors A.C. Flory of Meeka’s Mind blog, often posts about music. I recall a post from last January about “finding” the right music to write by. I love that idea!
Sometimes I connect something I’ve read with the music I heard at that time. It’s even easier to link the music I’ve listened to while writing with the manuscript when it’s done. Still, there’s a missing — and intriguing — piece. Wouldn’t it be cool to supply a soundtrack to a story? I’m sure it’s possible on a Kindle.
Of course the music matches intended by the author might not work for the reader. This problem hit home with a thud when the corporate management of my gym decided to switch the music source for the locker room. We went from classical, jazz & pop playlists to endless, mind-numbing, a-melodic, new age instrumentals. I thought I’d die, or commit murder, in the sauna and I discovered I was not alone.
Maybe the solution is a playlist suggestion? Recommending that the reader listen to a particular piece of music, but not forcing the subject. My dad did a variation on this when he published a recipe book to accompany his memoir. He suggested various American Songbook standards for the quiet time waiting for dough to rise when baking bread. Umm… maybe dad was ahead of his time?
Here’s A.C. Flory’s contemplation of the subject….