By Kevin Guilfoile
The song was about half-way through when a thought occurred--or maybe it was more like a feeling.
It's the start of the unofficial last week of summer and I suspect it's going to be rather quiet around here. It's a perfect time to introduce one of those half-baked notions that's probably interesting to no one but me.
I was driving somewhere in my car with the most recent album by the great Chicago musician and songwriter Andrew Bird on my iPod. Specifically, I was listening to a song called Imitosis:
And as I was listening, I had a vivid sensation: I would really like to write a story that's like an Andrew Bird song.
But after the thought had come and gone, I realized I had no idea what it meant. Bird's songs aren't really narratives. Clearly I was talking about tone. About style. But how does that tone and style translate from three-minute songs, which are immediate and sensual, to stories, which are immersive and intellectual. (As opposed to blog posts which, if this one is any guide, are pretentious and obtuse. Just stay with me a minute.)
I've spent more time thinking about this than I'd like to admit, and part of that is the fact that a central theme to my upcoming novel is the relationship different forms of art have to each other (and the relationship between art and nature and science, as well). And I know from talking with other writers that many of them also spend a lot of time thinking about the connection between music and literature.
I'll probably never get around to writing that story, but I'm curious if any of you think much about the relationship between music and literature. Are there novelists who remind you of certain musical artists or songwriters (or vice versa)? What music do you listen to when you write? Or do you hear a certain type of music when you read?
Have you ever wanted to write a story that was just like a specific song?
I'm doing some guest-blogging over at Radosh.net and have a post up over there about why newspaper and television reports always mention the Jaws of Life when covering an accident. It's not directly related to the stuff we usually write about here, but if you like reading about marketing and media, you might find it mildly interesting.