Throughout the years I’ve used music in a myriad of ways to gain inspiration. If you read my first blog, it will come as no surprise that one of the first ways I use music is to procrastinate writing!
Sometimes I just need to set a mood. And I need to let the music seep in and inspire me. There can be no writing during that time. There can be dishwashing, laundry, and floor sweeping. There can be bed making, dog walking and window box watering (the extent of my gardening despite my avid gardener characters), but there can be no writing, no reading, no email checking, social media, or talking to anyone. It is during this time that the characters and plot sort themselves out.
Sometimes the music is more personal and I use it to jar a period or place I want to write about. That is how bits of memory seep into fiction.
For Mercy, it was the “Me and My Arrow” song by Harry Nielson. I wanted to recall the neighborhood I grew up in and I was obsessed with that movie in third grade. Our teacher Mrs. Koss was young and vibrant and had our class learn “The Point” as our class play. We used it to learn lessons of belonging, identity, alienation, and resilience. I never intended to incorporate that into the novel but it wrote itself in, Carly took that memory as her own and I didn’t challenge it because it felt right.
Imagine my surprise when I googled “The Point” and read that Harry Nielson was dropping acid when he wrote it. I have no idea if that is true or not, but either way it’s a metaphor for the world of Carly’s childhood and her relationship to it.
This morning, I’m listening to the rain. That works too.
Rebecca Chianese is an author living and working in New York. She is the author of two screenplays, “Daffodil Hill” and “Waltzing With My Father” which were accepted into the Hudson Valley Reading Series. Her plays, “The Session” and “That’s Life” were both produced off-broadway in NYC. Mercy is her first novel.
Rebecca was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She lives with her husband and children in the Historical Hudson Valley. Her love of reading began with the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza and she has been writing as long as she was able to hold a pencil. Walking along the Hudson River is where most of her characters come to life and boss her around until she tells their stories.