“Music is to the Soul what Words are to the Mind.”
As I started writing the short story, The Homecoming, music was an obvious component. It’s a bonding experience for my couple. It sets the mood for a romantic night. I listened to music as I wrote. Songs inspired feelings I wanted to convey. Lyrics prompted dialogue. It’s a second chance at first love. Lauren and Beck shared their first kiss at the homecoming dance just minutes before he broke her heart. Twenty-plus years and two failed marriages pass before Lauren—OM Goodness, I’m so sorry, I’m so ahead of myself. Sorry.
I’ll start over: I have loved music since I was a child. I remember finding a single of Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World when I was five and playing it over and over. Suspiciously, my record player disappeared one night. Hmmm. Thanks to the internet (and lack of parental control!) I don’t have that problem now. I stream music constantly. The array of genres means no matter what my mood, feeling or occasion, I can find the perfect song. How many times have you been experiencing a major life event and suddenly come upon the song that captures that moment? It has gotten me through heartbreaks, made the road trip memorable, created lasting friendships, and elevated a celebration to an unforgettable party.
My first boyfriend and I would talk on the phone every night. He was a bass guitar kid. He would play albums and delve into structure and composition. Me – I just knew I liked it or not. It frustrated him because I always got the lyrics wrong. (Still do. And still don’t care. Mine are way better.) Music created that bond between us. Decades later, we had a discussion about Rush’s 2112 album. I hated it as a kid. I watched it on YouTube last year. I got it. And I realized the lost art of listening to an album; how the musicians craft a series of songs to tell a story or address issues. I now have a record player again. When was the last time you listened to an album?
I shared a desk with an employee in the late 90s. I worked days and he worked nights. He would leave me funny notes, we barely knew each other having only met once. One day as Christmas approached, our paths crossed. I asked if he wanted to help me do some shopping for the office. We headed to the mall. A song came on over the sound system. He swept me up in his arms and waltzed me around the store. It was beautiful and magical. There was a smattering of applause. A woman commented how lucky I was to have such a spontaneous guy. I thanked her. Our friendship was cemented in that moment. We traveled through Europe together. I attended his wedding and have watched his children grow. Have you ever made a friend over music or lost one?
My son taught me how innate the emotional response is to music. He was barely two months old when I was dancing him through the house to the soundtrack from Braveheart. We came to the death scene track. His expression changed and he started crying. It took me about five times to realize it was the song that was doing it, not hunger or a need for a diaper change. Something in the composition spoke to his soul at that young age. Studies conducted on the powerful effects of music on your mood support this. What song has evoked an emotional response from you?
My daughter taught me the power of the musical group experience. She loves music more than I do. As I struggled to bond with her as she entered her teens, I bought concert tickets to One Direction. At the time I wasn’t familiar with their music. She had an iPod and earbuds, so I didn’t have to listen to it like the torture I inflicted on my parents. I was excited to be spending an evening with her. We joined the thousands of girls, moms, and the occasional dad, in the football stadium. I fell in love with the opening act, 5SOS, but that is another story. The boys appeared. The energy in the stadium was astounding. 78,000 people standing and singing every word along with One D. We were a united group. My daughter and I have traveled the US chasing bands and catching shows. How I miss that with Covid and look forward to pursuing that again. What was your favorite concert?
As I started writing the short story, The Homecoming, music was an obvious component. It’s a bonding experience for my couple. It sets the mood for a romantic night. I listened to music as I wrote. Songs inspired feelings I wanted to convey. Lyrics prompted dialogue (yes, I verified they were correct—thank you, internet). It’s a second chance at first love. Lauren and Beck shared their first kiss at the homecoming dance just minutes before he broke her heart. Twenty-plus years and two failed marriages pass before Lauren, filled with liquid courage, makes a date to reconnect with her lost first love. Drinks in a cozy Manhattan bar turn steamy, and their old spark is rekindled, but Beck leaves her wanting more. Still haunted by the heartbreak of homecoming, Lauren doubts the budding relationship after his sudden cancelation. Can Beck convince her to give him another chance? Or will the distance, both in time and location, keep them apart? “Old Me” by 5 Seconds of Summer spoke to me for the story. What’s your romance and music story?
The Homecoming is included in Passionate Ink’s Falling Hard anthology being released TODAY! Get your copy here!
Falling Hard is a collection of 7 steamy short stories with all the proceeds going to ProLiteracy, https://www.proliteracy.org, a leading organization working to promote adult literacy. I made a playlist for my story. Take a listen:
I asked the other contributors about music. For Jordyn Koss’ story, Open Enrollment, Ed Sheeran’s All the Stars has meaning for her characters and to the story. Cher’s anthem of All or Nothing inspired Ryan T. Osborn’s character in Claiming Papa. As Michal Scott was writing Who can Find a Virtuous Woman, Rick James’ Super Freak was playing in the background. Deni Dawson’s says, “Time is an important theme in my short story, so I wanted songs that embody the futility of time, that when time is all you have, it becomes meaningless. Until you run out of it.” Check out Lord Huron’s When the Night is Over.
If you want to read the full story on the Playlist behind Passionate Ink’s Falling Hard Anthology, find it on my blog https://candicelabria.com/2021/09/15/falling-hard-the-playlist-and-the-stories/ . Interested in hearing the songs, check out them out here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3N24um7YMExHKwLOy7nXek?si=2bab5d919d78438d
I would love to hear about how music has played a part in your life. Drop me a comment and share the experience. Have a playlist that inspires you? Drop the link. I am always looking for new music. Comment, and Delilah will pick one lucky winner to send a copy of FALLING HARD to someone who isn’t a KU subscriber!
A huge Thank You to Delilah Devlin for giving me the opportunity to write about music.
Happy listening and reading.
About the Author
Candice LaBria is the author of The Homecoming and a member of Passionate Ink. She is currently working on a Mardi Gras-themed short story and a novel about a couple that is stuck rut. Can they get past it and save their marriage or is the chasm insurmountable? Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @bria_writes, Facebook Candice LaBria, newsletter. Follow the story and music at www. CandiceLaBria.com.