I’m stretched out in bed, 9:30 p.m., a weeknight. A little early for me but it’s the stretching out that I crave.
To lie back, my neck propped against a trio of pillows.
Recline. A word that hums, not so much directive as invitation: sink back. Let the shoulders relax, show the heart how easy it can be open. I like to think I even think differently.
My daughter’s boyfriend recently had shoulder surgery. He has to sleep in a reclining position. No fun when it’s not by choice.
My iPad in my lap, I open the music app, randomly choose a song via an Apple Music playlist. Here’s what called out to me.
Immediately followed by
It’s all about algorithms, and I know it, but there’s something particularly wonderful about favorite teenage songs popping up right now. In an instant I’m drawn back to lying in bed in an earlier time, the click of 45s dropping one by one onto the turntable.
Some writers write to background music. I’ve tried it, but more often it has the effect of pulling me away from a train of thought. Its effect is sensory, a body thing, putting me squarely in a particular time and place. Memory is stirred, emotions jarred. Even when it’s soft—of the solo piano, violin, meditation variety—it demands a kind of attention that fights with my writing brain. Not that my writing brain doesn’t call up the rhythms/the sounds/the lyrics of songs evoked in a piece of fiction I’m at work on. In a way, music seems to be a backdrop, better yet, a presence with the power to infuse itself into my stories.
Which brings me to the first pages of a novel of mine, with its allusion to Woodstock.
I’ve spent the better part of the last weeks fine-tuning, condensing, trying to find just the right phrases to entice readers into the story. Some of you have already seen my email re: my foray into the world of reader-powered publishing via a new Amazon program, Kindle Scout. Unlike typical kickstarter campaigns, in which supporters are asked to fund a book or project, this one just asks you to vote, maybe even help spread the word by sharing the link. Think of it as ‘American Idol’ for book lovers. Enough interest and Kindle Press may just decide to publish Just like February.
Yesterday, the supermarket checkout line found me staring at Reese Witherspoon on the cover of Glamour. Take a close look, please, at the cover blurb, top right. I may not need this talented, beautiful woman to tell me what I know. But she does have way of delivering the message with charm.