Tuesday, April 6, 2010

S is for Song, and S is for Spring, and for Ships, and Stories, too

Some songs linger with me for days and weeks, flavoring a period of my life with tone and mood. This spring, a few key songs are weaving in and out of my days, and so I thought I'd share one. It's Fanfarlo's "The Walls Are Coming Down." The lyrics are rather fatalistic, which is as it should be, for I am currently writing a story whose protagonist feels no hope. This song makes me think of him with its mix of lilting beauty and fatalism.

As some of the lyrics go,

For atoms have gone as far as atoms will go
Your books write themselves
They line up in row after row

The walls the walls are coming down
The here and now is coming round
It will some day let you down
The ships the ships are coming in
The great ideas are wearing thin
There is nothing left to do

The great irony for me, of course, is that I cannot share this view as I type away at my own books and poems and stories and essays--and yet, I love this song.

And who is this pessimistic character I mention? He is a seventeen-year-old boy, and I am having an amazing time living a part of each day in his head and his world. I'll admit, though, that sometimes it takes every bit of strength and will I have to do it. Teenage boys, as you probably know, can be high maintenance.

Someday, when I finish writing this damn story (fingers and toes crossed), I'll introduce him to you.

In the meantime, here's Fanfarlo. What songs, I'm wondering, are running through the playlist in your mind this month?


  1. The other irony is that this song exists. To make art is an act of hope, even when the art insists otherwise--and that, among other reasons, is why I love art so freaking much. Can you tell I have been writing all night?

  2. Creating a seventeen-year old boy must be quite a challenge, and a wrench from your own world.

    My husband and I once held a Saddest Song contest - we spent an evening taking turns trying to trump the other's choice of sad song. I won with something of Moby's that was ridiculously downbeat, and we had such a fun, uplifting time.

    Fanfarlo could grow on me.

  3. Music is so very powerful. I love that a song can take me to another place and time without so much as a thought on my part...just listen and find myself somewhere else.

    I love the sound of this band...
    oh, and I also love hearing your about your "process" as you write...fascinating.

  4. I have 'Walking on Sunshine' playing in my head at the moment. And it won't go away!!! So Fanfarlo should help ;-) Dying to find out what a 17 year old boy has going on in his head. Crossing my fingers and toes...

  5. Dear Gigi, "The great ideas are wearing thin". I do not for one instance think that this is so in your case. In fact I am inclined to believe the reverse and that you daily go from strength to strength. I am most intrigued to learn of the teenage boy who occupies a place in the story you are currently writing but imagine that I shall have to be patient in the hope that all will be revealed in due course.

  6. making art is a truly wonderful thing. Thank you for sharing this with us. Have a wonderful week

  7. Ooooh you are such a clever, clever girl. I look forward to getting to know your seventeen year old, when the time is right. I have one song that plays in my head all the time, but if I so much a mention it's name I will have no peace for hours! Alas they tend to play it fairly frequently on the radio and that really mucks up my week. Trouble is I don't like it!!!!!

  8. I can't wait to meet your seventeen year old friend - that is definitely a tough age!

    Have a beautiful day, Gigi! xxoo :)

  9. My songs vary so much - day to day, hour to hour - minute by minute! Currently a mixture of:

    We Built This City - Starship
    Singing the Blues - Guy Mitchell
    Atomic - Blondie

    You sound like you are having a creative blast at the moment. I often use music to get inside a character or scene - I like to 'set the mood', also by wearing something that nods to the era I am writing about. Somewhere along the way I have evolved into a method writer! Either that, or just plain barmy.

  10. Thanks for the clip. I love this song! And I have a soft spot for teenage boys (at least the one that belongs to me and those he hangs out with). Would love to read your story when you finish it. (And we still need to get that coffee). xo Julie

  11. I can't wait to read about this 17 year old! tough age to write about, but facinating. Since I have 4 boys, perhaps I will gain some insight...


  12. When the weather turns warm, as it has this week, I open all the windows and just seem to hear Astrud Gilberto drifting in on the breeze. She usually stays till autumn!

    I can't imagine how tiring it must be to live with a seventeen year old boy in your head every day!! Can't wait to meet him!

  13. I can't get pink out of my head.....her song "glitter in the air" WOW !
    and then "i don't believe you"......I love that one, too !

    and so many songs by jonatha brooke will linger with me for days :)

  14. Hi Gigi,
    I can see why you like this music - love the arrangement and the uniqueness of it all. I don't know about "the great ideas are wearing thin" line. I'm blown away by all the great ideas I see in blogland each and every day.
    I could listen to Brett Dennen (in particular Blessed) and Amos Lee (Shout out loud) all day long. I never get sick of them!

  15. Mise: I like the idea of a saddest song contest, and Moby is the perfect choice! You know who I simply cannot listen to because no matter what his voice is singing he brings me down? James Taylor. His voice completely bums me out.

    Robin: I completely agree with you about music's power to transport us. The other thing that does this for/to me is good food!

    Ange: No! Not Katrina and the Waves! Overly happy songs sometimes bum me out because I just can't live up to their enthusiasm.

    Oh, Edith, thank you for your vote of confidence in my ideas! I am very deep into this story, and right now it's a tough place in it. Can't seem to write my way to the next spot, so you your words are a boost!

    Thank you, Ballet News!

    Julienne: This happens to me with songs I don't like, too. Daily. Ugh.

    Cathi: You said it! And it's tougher for this boy than for many.

    Jayne: Method writer--haha! I LOVE your idea of wearing an item of clothing to help you. I have a playlist of about fifteen songs that feel like this story to me. On a given day if I play one or two of them when I sit down to write, they help me transition from the outside world into my writing head very quickly, so I know what you mean about setting the mood.

    Julie: I have a soft spot for them, too. My nephews will become them in a couple of years, and I look forward to that. As difficult of an age as it can be, it's also kind of magical. And with your particular teenager, I can definitely understand why you have a soft spot, although the fact that he is one blows my mind!

    Julia: Four boys! Bless you, woman! What an amazing adventure your life must be. Actually, this character is the oldest of four boys.

    Pamela: Oh, I have certain singers for certain seasons, too! For me, summer singers are people whose voices sound especially beautiful drifting through open windows and doors. Billie Holiday is high on my list of summer singers.

    Beth: Pink would drive me insane! lol Now I'm afraid I'll get either her or Lady Gaga in my head and I won't be able to shake them out. Jonatha Brooke, however, I adore! She can come hang out in my brain for a few days any time!


  16. Catherine: I agree with you about that line! It's perfect for how my character feels right now, though. Okay, I don't know Brett Dennen, so now I'm off to go listen to "Blessed." Thanks for the tip!

  17. Jackie: First, thank you for your faith. I have only a tidbit of it at the moment--just enough to keep going--so your words help more than I can say. Truly. Second, yes, I agree! The music is uplifting, and I think that's why I like this song, for that juxtaposition of happy music and rather dire lyrics. That is a bit like my own personality, if I'm being honest!!! Are your kids as awesomely funny and cool as you? Lucky people to have grown up with you for a mom.

  18. Seeing you were up to "S" made me realize how much I've missed. I read backwards and of course loved all the posts. The olives and the "people" posts really got my attention. I've seen myself the wonderful caring nature of bloggers the past 2 weeks as messages continued to pour in with prayers for my mom, even though I was ignoring all of my blog friends.

    We brought my mom home today. The rehab center simply wasn't her style and she will do outpatient rehab now. She has a long road ahead, but she is blissfully happy to be home and my dad it thrilled as well. I'm going to stick around here a few more weeks and hopefully she will continue to get stronger each day. At least I can get back to blogging a bit, I'm going to have a bit more time and hopefully be able to stay awake:)

  19. Thinking of you and your mom, Sue. I hope you are taking good care of yourself, too, and that you can catch up on your rest. xo

  20. thank you for your encouragement and i love the thought of this story. i have a 15 year old nephew who has a pretty jaded look on the world so i get this. good luck with the story - it sounds so interesting.

  21. Gigi, I can't wait to hear what a seventeen year old boy has running through his mind. Mine is heading that way, and I need all the help I can get. Wishing you much success and progress, dear friend.

  22. Songs just come to me and I have no idea why AND they take up residence in my head for weeks at a time. Today's Song? "Ring My Bell" that 70's disco tune!

  23. can't wait to meet the 17yr old! : ) sounds interesting already.

  24. GiGi, Don't you sometime wonder how they come up with these songs, it's amazing.
    I'm humming "Isn't Romantic" too old to understand some of the new stuff.
    good topic,, yvonne

  25. Oh, oh oh!! I can hardly wait to meet him. Won't you give us at least a little hint? A name??


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