Striking a Chord.


“Radio, radio
Tell me what I wanna know, wanna know
I’ve been wide awake, staying up all night
Waiting for a song that will make me feel alright…”
~Brooke White, “Radio Radio”

Grey’s Anatomy coined the phrase “dance it out.” Now, I can’t remember exactly what episode it was from or what exactly they were dancing out, but what I do know is that the concept is one so many people can relate to in their own lives. Whether it’s dancing it out, walking it out, or something else entirely, everyone has a way of working through whatever decisions or experiences they may be struggling with … and for a lot of us, that involves music in some way. Of course the artist and song will vary, but the common thread that stays the same? Music gives us something to think about. It inspires us. It motivates us. It makes us realize that whatever we’re dealing with, someone else is, too. We all have that song or album that speaks to us.

I had a few of those today. I’m about as far from a dancer as humanly possible (seriously, every dancing gene went to my sister!), so my method is to walk things out – but almost always with music. I like finding that meaning in every song, and I appreciate it perhaps even more when that meaning finds – and inspires – me. Today that came in the form of Melinda’s “I Will Be” and Carrie’s “Crazy Dreams.” Both came on my ipod as I was taking my daily walk, and the timing couldn’t possibly have been any better. Yesterday I found out that I wasn’t going to get the answer I had been praying for from the agent who requested my partial manuscript, which left me with two choices: allow myself to feel helplessly discouraged or take this agent’s very nice, very thoughtful email and use it as motivation. I’ll admit to being crestfallen when I read the words – somehow an “almost” hurts more than a “no” – but I made the conscious choice when I woke up this morning to turn that hurt into hope. I made the decision to allow myself to be very disappointed, but to also focus on her kind words and to be elated that I’ve gotten this far. I have every intent of taking this agent’s suggestion and kind words and running with them – but first I had to literally hit the pavement to walk it out. And honestly? Those two songs could not have come on at a better time. They’re exactly what I needed to hear.

And on another note entirely (pun not intended!), I also wanted to mention what a major role music plays in the writing process, at least for me. I’ve always been one of those people who loves to immerse myself in a song, and I find that holds even more true when I’m writing. So often I’ll be writing a scene, or even just thinking about one, when lyrics will pop into my head. There are certain lines that just seem to embody my characters or the situation at hand, lyrics that I always keep in mind as I’m writing. For example, there’s one scene toward the end of With a Little Bit of Luck where I feel like a specific line in Jordin Sparks’ “The Cure” is just the absolute perfect description for what my main character, Emily, is feeling. I can’t listen to that song anymore without thinking of the book. I’m one of those people who needs quiet when I write, but you can be assured that when I am listening to music, I’m always inspired by the lyrics I hear and the singers who get to the heart of the matter so beautifully. I love getting to extend that aura and mood to a scene and to my characters.

So, all that said, I’m going to continue hoping and praying that crazy dreams really do come true – and I’m also going to continue to work as hard as I can and do everything in my power to make that happen. Today, I heard the songs that made me feel alright. I heard the music that struck a chord.

What songs inspire you and your dreams? Do you ever dance it out? How does music impact your life?

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4 thoughts on “Striking a Chord.

  1. Gotta love daily walks to clear the brain! I usually listen to podcasts but the same idea applies: getting all negative thoughts cleared away and learning to breathe deep and accept what’s happening. Sorry you didn’t get the news you hoped for. It’s a long, frustrating process but you’re obviously coping.

    • It’s definitely a long process, but I’m learning that when one door closes, another opens (sometimes sooner than we’d ever expect!). I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I remind myself of that every day.

      And yes to the daily walks! They’ve become one of my favorite parts of the day, that quiet time just to reflect and take a deep breath. I like your podcast idea!!

  2. i’m so sorry you didn’t get the response you were hoping, and working so hard, for. i admire your resilience and determination to not view this as a setback, and to keep on the path. i can’t help but think this is a blessing (with the words of encouragement back), and that there’s a better offer out there waiting to read your masterpiece. it WILL fall into the right hands, i’m certain of it. instead of it being a rejection, it was merely a stepping stone!

    • Oh, I can’t tell you how much I LOVE that way of looking at it! Going into this, I was well aware of how many times I’d hear “no” before I heard a “yes,” but I think what I wasn’t counting on was the fact that getting an “almost” would hurt even more. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crestfallen, but at the same time, I was so beyond appreciative that this agent took the time to send such a sweet email. Her kind words about my writing definitely helped soften the blow, and the new outlet she gave me to find an agent was beyond the call of duty.

      Now that I’ve had a couple days to process it all, I have to believe that you’re right and that it will all work out. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason, and like this agent said, every writer deserves to work with someone who completely falls in love with their novel. I’m determined to keep searching until I find that agent :) And talk about new opportunities arising when other ones fall away – the timing of getting a request from a second agent today really drove home that idea. Fingers crossed!

      And as an aside, I want to thank you again for all your support and encouragement. I know I’ve said this before, but it honestly means so, so very much and it will always go both ways!! :)

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