To me, literature, music and discovery are all tied together. Art is self-referential, and I love that. This year, I discovered great music through the books I read. Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution is a treasure-trove of musical gems, and Antony John’s Five Flavors of Dumb mentioned a Nirvana video that changed the way I thought about musical legacy. Sometimes I’ll read a book because it’s mentioned in a song (that book by Nabokov). I go to concerts and my brain tosses up ideas, inspired by the lyrics, the chords or another artist’s passion. The most powerful scenes I’ve written, or read, have threads of music running through them, whether ostentatiously or suggested in the rhythm of the words.
Songwriters create images with words, like writers do. They mix in instruments, microphones and amps like publishers and authors toss in plot, cover-art, character. All the little things that make up one bigger thing, but the pith of both arts is the same. Feeling, emotion, describing a way of being in the world. The arts are tied. That creating soundtracks for books, and writing books based on a song are things that happen necessarily, and I love the art that comes from them.
What are some of your favorite musical books and literate songs?