Bit Off More Than I Can Chew

Talk about exercises in futility…

I decided to get all ambitious with a blog post the other night.  “Wouldn’t it be cool,” I thought, “to put together something about song lyrics?  To do a piece where I list the ‘best’ lyrics to build a story around?”

Of course, that meant I just had to go back and start listening to songs and artists to check my memory.  I just had to re-immerse myself in the feelings and moods that made the music memorable in the first place.

I have, I should add, well over 60 gigabytes of music on my iPhone…

I could listen for a week, and not get through it all!  I am also “that guy” when it comes to music.  You know who I’m talking about, the guy who starts with one song/artist and wanders down countless rabbit trails of music and memory.

Even when I nailed down a few songs to use, well…you can’t just type the lyrics.  No, to get the point across, you have to have the feelings and memories of the music, too (*Note – I’ve put an example of this at the end of the post*).

So much for my ambitious blog post.


Look, there’s a line from a song called “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel — a single vision, that became a few words in a larger scene I wrote — that inspired the entire freaking fantasy trilogy I’m planning and working up right now (when I want to take a break from my sci-fi stuff).  The line?  Oh, hell, why not:

My heart going boom-boom-boom

Son, he said, grab your things

I’ve come to take you home

And about that sci-fi stuff…

Well, Connor & Oz’s stories owe their existence to — of course — a song.  A song that inspired the final scene of the first book, which in turn inspired the characters, then the world and society, then the plot…and on and on.

What, you want that line, too?  Crikey…this one really is the whole song rather than just a line or two, but here goes:

You saw my pain

Washed out in the rain

And broken glass

Saw the blood run from my veins

You see why my original post idea was way too ambitious?  I could do this a hundred times, with a hundred different songs and stories and characters.  I could talk about Genesis’ “A Trick of the Tail”, The Alarm’s “One Step Closer to Home”, The Avett Brothers’ “The Carpenter”, Clapton’s “Motherless Children”, Steve Winwood, Erasure, The Gaslight Anthem, Chuck Ragan, Dave Hause, Sting, X Ambassadors, Derek And The Dominoes, Trampled By Turtles…

Crap, maybe I should just list my entire music library!


*Okay, so the example I want to use is a song I’ve mentioned before as one that is incredibly evocative.  It is a song of memory and emotion.  A song of — dare I say it — nostalgia and the past.  A few lines I will type here.  Read them and see if you can find those qualities.  Only then, only after trying the hard way, should you listen to the linked video and listen for those same qualities:

While the city bums

Are taken hard

For one more drop of blood

We work our fingers down to dust

And we wait for kingdom come

With the radio on

See what I mean?

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