Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rock This Thursday: How Books and Music Go Hand-In-Hand

Chelsey from Sense and Disability has swung by today to discuss her thoughts on music and books. Chelsey is also a young adult writer and you can check out her blog here!

Music and books suck all the money from my wallet. I spend half my life in Harvard Square, buying CDs and paperbacks. These are the things my iPad and iPod should render obsolete, but they don’t. Probably they won’t. But I’m not here to talk about the impending death of bookstores, or the fact that we’d all be better off if the discs in the jewel-cases went away. (I hate jewel-cases, but that’s another story). I’m here to talk about discovery.

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?

1 comment:

Margo Berendsen said...

I never thought of this before, but I like how you put it "Feeling, emotion, describing a way of being in the world. The arts are tied."

I just watched a version of movie (Legend) set to a different soundtrack, and oh my it was like an entirely different movie. It was a revelation.

I haven't been able to find a direct link between music I love and my writing, but I'm sure there are indirect links that I'd notice if I really paid attention.