Friday, June 17, 2011

Are You Ready to Rock? I Mean, Write!

I am fiercely right-brained and numbers-challenged enough not to have balanced my checkbook in twenty years, if ever.  There’s something about math that makes my mind go blank.  How I was ever a card-carrying member of Mu Alpha Theta—the honors math club—is a freakin’ mystery, right up there with Black Holes and Donald Trump’s hair.

Not surprisingly, I’ve always gravitated toward the arts, though my attempts at expressing myself with anything other than words were less than spectacular.  As an artist-wannabe, I drew hands well but never faces, dabbled in acrylics, and produced a metal sculpture that my sister incredibly assumed was made by our very talented architect uncle.  She dug it out of a box in Mom’s basement and admired it so much that she put it on display in her apartment only to have me exclaim, “Oh, God, that’s ‘diving boy’!  I did that in seventh grade!”  I was far more excited than she.

Despite my artistic failures, I’m still a huge fan of visual arts and often attend art fairs and festivals in St. Louis. When I’m not crazed on deadlines, I love to visit the Art Museum to see the latest exhibits and pine over their permanent collection (I heart Impressionists!). 

My right brain also adores the Symphony, as there’s nothing as glorious to the ears as a Mozart piano concerto or Yo-Yo Ma on the cello.  But my biggest love is ‘80s rock.  Despite my preference for clothes that actually cover my boobs and my butt, I am a closet rock ‘n’ roll chick. 

Before I met Ed, I would have dropped everything to be Def Leppard’s roadie.  Their music feeds something inside me like nothing else does.  A few notes of “Photograph” or “Promises” pushes all the right buttons and conjures up so many moments from my past, good and bad, falling in love, breaking-up, sad times, glory days.  I will never again hear “Pour Some Sugar On Me” without thinking of a trip to Nashville with the Deadly Divas where I cracked up Letha Albright by singing aloud in an elevator filled with musicians clutching guitar cases (and staring at me, agape, presumably horrified).

My iPod is full of my favorite ‘80s tunes, and I wear it religiously on the treadmill so I can hear Van Halen belt out “Dance the Night Away” or Night Ranger harmoniously “Sing Me Away.” Whenever Kansas’s “Point of No Return” or Rush’s “Fly By Night” comes up in the shuffle, I’m in heaven, if only for three and a half minutes at a time.

The first concert I ever attended was Billy Joel and a succession of my favorites followed (no, you’re not allowed to laugh):  The Cars, Journey, Styx, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Night Ranger, Kansas, Prince, Clapton, Bon Jovi, Jefferson Starship, and, of course, the Leps.  I have newer stuff on my iPod, too, (I love The Script, The Fray, Gavin DeGraw, and even some Katie Perry and Lady Gaga); but I always go back to my true love.  

It might surprise you to know that I don’t listen to music as I write.  It’s too distracting, and I’m too easily distracted already.  I have a rhythm in my head when I’m putting words on the page, so I keep the music off; though if you read my books you’ll always find music in them. When I’m not writing, there’s nothing I like more than turning on iTunes and singing at the top of my lungs. Okay, yes, and I dance, too, which freaks out the cats.

So what music do you listen to?  Do you play tunes while you write?  Has any piece of music ever influenced a storyline?  Inquiring minds want to know!

P.S.  Just for fun, my Little Black Dress video, which has very cool music (reminds me of the theme from Harry Potter!).  Take a peek!


  1. You are the 80's queen!!! Being from the same "time period," I have my 80's go to list. I think, though, many of us from that generation skipped the 90's, finding current music much more to our liking... well, I do anyway!

    Great post, Susan!! No matter what the subject, you lead with such fluid prose. Always a pleasure to read!

  2. Hey I saw Rick Springfield in concert in May and he still rocks. You should pick up his Venus in Overdrive Cd. You will love it. I even got to meet him at a book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Brookfield, WI. He has his autobiography coming our on paperback July 5. Get it.

  3. I was on the other end of the spectrum in the 80s, going to New Wave concerts every chance I got: ABC, UB40, Thomson Twins, and some others who have long left my memory (even if their music still resides on my iPod). But I love me some Def Leppard! "Photograph" is my favorite. Great post, Susan. But I do want to see you in some ripped tights and a butt-hugging mini. Maggie

  4. Maggie, you will never see me in ripped tights and a butt-hugging mini! (Er, not in public anyway.) I am now picturing you new-waved out, singing, "Whip it, whip it good!" ;-)

    Laura, my fellow '80s chick! (I know Marilyn Brant is in our '80s rock clique, too.) I skipped the '90s as far as music goes as well. And thanks for the kind words about my blogs! Your blogs are always right up my alley, too!

    kk4booksnlighthouses...I heart Rick Springfield! I should check out his CD. Thanks for the nudge. I have him on my iPod. I still remember in high school that I played his Jessie's Girl cassette tape so often that some guy friends put it in my microwave and fried it. Though, of course, I just bought another! :-)

  5. Now why in the world would that guy's friend do such a cruel thing. He obviously is not a Rick S fan. Good for you to buy another LOL. Yeah definitely check out that CD.

  6. It was cruel! As you can tell, I've never forgotten that particular incident. Scarred me for life! ;-)


This is a comment awaiting moderation on the blog.