The Day the Music Died

Please welcome my guest blogger, Shelly Bell, as she talks about:

The Day the Music Died

Music is part of my soul. When I was younger, my head was always full of music. No matter what I was doing, I had some song playing in my mind. I’m not the only one. In college, my friend admitted that he too had a soundtrack playing silently throughout his life. It’s probably no coincidence that the two of us are artists. While we both sang and acted in our youth, he’s now a graphic artist and illustrator, and I’m a writer.

I haven’t asked him if he still hears music. I’m guessing he does. Sadly, the music in my head died about a decade ago and I don’t know why. All I know is that I miss it sometimes.

In high school, I was part of the theater and choir crowd. Although I listened to rock and pop, I really loved musical theater. Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserable were the popular shows at the time. I knew all the words, and my friends and I would act out parts of the musicals. In fact, we did this even before we’d ever seen the show. The music and lyrics of the shows filled us with emotion and longing we didn’t understand, but needed to portray. I felt the characters’ emotion through the artist’s voice.

Every once in a while, I turn on my favorite musicals in my car and sing my heart out. However, it’s more common these days for me to listen to music and visualize my own characters. Every main character in my books has their own soundtrack. In A Year to Remember, it was mostly Abba music for Sara and Sara Bareilles for Missy.  Now that I’m writing an edgier, grittier paranormal, the music is darker with lyrics about loss and
faithlessness.  All except the soundtrack for the bad guy, who’s obsessed with Mozart.

I can’t always write to music because it’s distracting. But I do listen to get in the mood. Instead of music, my head is now filled with the voices of my characters and scenes from their lives. I’m not sure why the music died in my head. Perhaps I needed to make room for all of my characters. I’ll always be grateful to music and its’ creators for providing me with an art which touches my soul and inspires me to write.

Shelly received her Bachelors of Arts in Social Work and a Certificate in Women
Studies from Michigan State University in 1990 and her Juris Doctor Degree from
Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center. Practicing law since
1997, she specializes in corporate, environmental and employment law as In-House Legal Counsel for a scrap metal company in Detroit. She and her husband reside with their two children in Michigan. A member of Romance Writers of America, she writes both women’s fiction and paranormal romance.

When her younger brother marries on her twenty-ninth birthday, food addict Sara Friedman drunkenly vows to three hundred wedding guests to find and marry her soul mate within the year. After her humiliating toast becomes a YouTube sensation, she permits a national morning show to chronicle
her search. With the help of best friend Missy, she plunges head first into the
shallow end of the dating pool.

Her journey leads her to question the true meaning of soul mates, as she decides between fulfilling her vow to marry before her thirtieth birthday and following her heart’s desire. But before she can make the biggest decision of her life, Sara must begin to take her first steps towards recovery from her addiction to food.

A Year to Remember is available as an e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Soul Mate Publishing.

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10 Responses to The Day the Music Died

  1. Darcy Flynn says:

    Your experience with music always playing in your head sounds a lot like me. 🙂 My life was like one of those musicals from the late fifties and sixties. In college, I was a music major and theatre minor. Go figure! lol Although, I still have soundtracks running through my head there’re not as plentiful as in my youth. I think for me the stresses of life have something to do with this change in my brain and mind. And the fact that there’s less ‘quiet’ in my life-with TV’s, computers, cell phones… how can my internal music compete with that? 🙂
    Great post. Certainly got me thinking this morning. Going back to my coffee!

  2. Shelly, as another who lived inside a table top Philco radio during her childhood, and inside the speakers of her music for years, I also had music in my head for decades. In case you were concerned (which I don’t think you are) … the music hasn’t died. It has taken on a new meaning and your brain has adjusted. The muse is carried on the strains of the song, it floats down and becomes art, photography, fiction and the love of nature and her individual songs. It becomes the sounds of characters, the memory of other times and never dies … only brings us new and exciting stories. I truly believe that I could not have become a writer without the muse … the love of music and song … the mornful sounds of a harmonica on a late summer night … the whine of a frieght train as it pushes throught the night. All these things become the true love of the word. Loved this post and thanks for the memories 🙂

  3. Mandi Casey says:

    Incredible post Shelly, and best wishes with your future projects.

  4. Great interview. I too listen to different music to get a feel for my characters. It’s funny how you can hear a song and think, “That’s how ‘so-and-so’ thinks”

  5. Jerri says:

    The book sounds like a fun read, Shelly!

  6. Diane Burton says:

    Very interesting about music in your head. Mine, too. Sometimes I can’t get a song or commercial jingle out of my head. Drives me crazy. I, too, find music distracting when I write but only if there are words. Instrumentals are okay.

    Your book sounds very interesting. Something to go on my TBR pile.

  7. Shelly Bell says:

    Thanks everyone for stopping by. Today was one of those days that I got to turn on an old musical and sing as loud as I wanted to. I got some looks from other drivers, but it was worth it. 🙂

  8. Annette says:

    Dear Shelly,
    You hit a soft spot on me with that looking for your soul mate thing. I’ll tell you what I’ve told my kids. A spouse is the exception you allow into the fulfilling life you are already planning and living. Don’t loose yourself in some other person’s dream.

    Thanks for your lyrical POV. I’ll be looking for your projects.

  9. Shelly Bell says:

    Thank you for those words, Annette.

  10. Anne Kemp says:

    Shelly – I love music and getting in the car, turning up the radio and just singing! And musicals? It satisfies my inner Broadway Diva 🙂

    Wonderful and touching post!!