People have often asked how I write. I tell them I usually use a computer. Although, when I get stuck, I’ve been known to pick up a notebook and write longhand. But that’s not what they meant when they asked. When I thought about it, I realized I use a soundtrack in my writing and my life.
I’ve always been a total music junkie. I have over 10,000 songs on iTunes and am never without my iPod. I’d sooner forget my phone than my iPod. I can live without the phone, but I don’t think I could live without my music.
Music and literature have made more of an impact on my life than anything else. Maybe it’s because I moved around so much as a kid. Music and literature were my only constants. As long as I had my books and my albums with me, I was home. Yeah, I know, I’m showing my age.
Music has given my life a timeline—I can tell you in which of my 30+ childhood homes I lived when a particular song was popular. For instance, I know I lived on Minna Street in Brooklyn when my uncle used to hang out with me and play the 5th Dimension album with “Up, Up, and Away” on it over and over. I was in the Hamptons for the summer with my father when Captain and Tenille came out with “Love Will Keep Us Together” the most annoying song I can remember. Hearing the name alone insures it will be running through my head for hours. I apologize to anyone who has the same problem. I could give you an million more examples, but you get the picture.
My obsession with music grew. In high school I picked up the guitar, wrote depressing songs, and dated musicians. Eventually, I began working in the music industry, managing a singer/songwriter and his band. He’s since written number one songs for several heavy-hitting country singers and has a few platinum records to his name.
Is it any surprise, then, that each of my books has its own soundtrack? It serves as a timeline of sorts. It keeps me in my story. I still listen to the soundtrack of my first book and when I do, I’m pulled back into my story. With each song, I know where in the story it fits. The soundtrack is fabulous. Unfortunately, the book, like most first books, will probably never see the light of day.
Romeo, Romeo has a soundtrack that’s eclectic, to say the least. Death Cab For Cutie’s “Coney Island” rolls into Lou Monte’s “Please Mr. Columbus (turn the ship around).” The Pussycat Dolls’ “Sway,” Kristy MacColl’s “Fairytale of New York,” Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head,” Avi Vinocur’s “L-Train,” The Cranberries, James Taylor, Norah Jones, Landon Pigg, Ben Taylor…the list goes on.
All the songs have one thing in common—they remind me of Brooklyn and Manhattan. They bring me back to my Sicilian grandparent’s dining room table. I listen, and it’s as if I’m magically transported to Park Slope, into my characters’ heads. I can see touch, feel, hear, smell, and absorb the energy of the city. It comes alive. And then I write.