When I was around eight or nine years old, occasionally, my cousin Barbara would watch me for my mom who worked a full-time nursing job basically her entire life. One of the things that made not seeing my mom all the time slightly more bearable was being able to spend time with my older, super cool cousin. She taught me a lot about life and love and, most importantly, music. She loved music (and still does, in fact). She would put on different artists, cassette tapes at that time, and I’d learn about all these cool bands, such as The Beatles and The Cure. She went on to college and became a music teacher, which I thought was so perfect for her. I vividly remember being at family gatherings when she’d pull out her violin case, flip open the clasps, and prepare the instrument. I’d watch in complete awe as she’d rosin the bow. It was as if I was witnessing greatness. I could only hope I would grow up to be even half as talented as her. When I received a recorder and began lessons in the fourth grade, I was positive I’d be the next musical child prodigy.
Alas, that was not the case.
But even though I put my dreams of being a classical musician on the shelf, behind a lot of other dreams and desires that were equally as unattainable, I still carried the love of music with me.
In my mind, there is nothing better than music. I absolutely love music. When I’m sad, the first thing I do is put on a playlist of songs that speak to me. Sure, they might make me cry or get me even more upset, but I still love doing it. The idea that someone wrote the lyrics and music and then sang it, or even got someone else to sing it… I love it.
One of the most exciting times for me is when I’m looking forward to a concert. In fact, I’m so pumped for the Florence + The Machine concert in June that I can barely contain myself. And I’m seeing Celine Dion! The greatest singer in the world! I cannot even begin to describe my excitement for that. This coming Wednesday, I am going to see Sarah McLachlan at a small venue nearby, which fills me with so much happiness. I fell in love with Sarah after my cousin Barbara introduced me to Fumbling into Ecstasy.
At the end of the day, it’s connecting with the lyrics that really gets me, though. There are so many songs that I’ve sent to different people over the years and prefaced it with, “Listen to these lyrics. They are so you!” or “They are so me!” or “Oh, my God, I’m bawling just listening to this…”
For every book I write, I have a different playlist that I listen to while writing. The songs connect me to my characters. They embody the sadness or happiness that the lyrics evoke and I love that. I actually think it’s common for people to make playlists to listen to while they express their art, but I know a few people that laugh and say, “oh, you millennials…”
Either way, I am so very happy that music is there for me and plays such an important part of my life. So many songs have helped me through numerous events in my life. The sickness and death of my mom (Shake it Out – Florence + The Machine), horrible heartache (Keeping Your Head Up – Birdy), every time I sign a new contract for a book (Woman – Kesha), and I could go on and on.
I’ll leave you all with this: my current playlist for the novella I am writing for the Hot Ice collection from Bold Strokes Books (due out in December; Aurora Rey and Elle Spencer are also contributing).
Feel free to give it a listen.
Closed Door Policy Playlist:
- Doin’ it Right – Daft Punk featuring Panda Bear
- Heartbeat – Childish Gambino
- Patricia – Florence + The Machine
- Gorgeous – X Ambassadors
- Youngblood – 5 Seconds of Summer
- Light On – Maggie Rogers
- Keeping Your Head Up – Birdy
- 1950 – King Princess
- Another Story – The Head and the Heart (watch this video if you haven’t already; it’s amazing!)
- Third Eye – Florence + The Machine (the entire visual album for How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is phenomenal if you have the additional forty-eight minutes. It’s called “The Odyssey” and you can find it here.)
- Little Giant – Roo Panes
- Always – Panama
- Cringe – Matt Maeson
- Blood – Middle East
- Which Witch – Florence + The Machine
- Higher Ground – Odesza
- The Night We Met – Lord Huron
- Find Me – Sigma featuring Birdy
- Coffee – Sylvan Esso
- Big God – Florence + The Machine