Writespiration: “Sigh” by Unloved from Killing Eve

This song makes me want to smash five bottles of champagne on the floor and dance over the pieces in five-inch stiletto boots made of leather. 

If that seems oddly specific, it’s because you haven’t watched Killing Eve,  a rightfully lauded show that debuted last year and gained Sandra Oh an oh-so-deserved Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. This song appears a couple times in the most tense, plainly cool moments of romance between two women who have yet to meet face-to-face. 

Seriously, watch Killing Eve.

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#NaNoWriMo2018 Day 28: “Savior” by St. Vincent

Another song discovered this week at just the right time. I’m diving more into Pru’s romance with Federal Vigilante Agent Maxwell Spelling, and when I heard “Savior” by St. Vincent — really heard it — and decided it was a perfect summary of their relationship. Pru is so enamored by him that she doesn’t mind that he’s looking for her to be a distraction, scapegoat, accomplice and victim all at once for him. Similarly, St. Vincent’s song cosmetically sounds like a woman’s adventure with sexual experimentation as her partner begs her to take on different roles (nurse, teacher, nun, cop and leather-momma).

But that’s not the point of the song at all, it turns out.

“I got ’em trying to save the world,” she murmurs at the end. “They said, ‘Girl, you’re not Jesus.'”

So not only is “Savior” about the demands Max makes on Pru in their relationship, but also on the demands she makes on herself and those around her. St. Vincent insists she “can’t be your savior” until being worn down by her lover’s pleas. Pru succumbs to her own addiction to the rush that comes from making a difference.

#NaNoWriMo2018 Day 21: “Snow Girl” by Staygold

My playlist-prodigy friend Hannah Burkett sent me the link to “Snow Girl” by Staygold on Monday with the simple message, “I’m OBSESSED with this song.” Seeing as she’s the reason I listen to about 37 percent of the music I do (rough estimate), I tuned in.

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve stopped listening to it since that first play. The song came into my life at a perfect time. Right now in Nobody’s Hero, my main character has a come-to-Jesus meeting with the only other person in on her secret when he gets tired of her making decisions without taking him into account.

“So selfish, can’t help it, I know,” Staygold’s song says. “I should think of myself / ‘cuz you never ever thought about me…Acting like I am emotional / wonder why I should stay when I know you won’t change / only happy when you’re in control / you’re always getting your way.”

I know how the argument has to end, but this song just put me in the mood to write a good confrontation.

#NaNoWriMo2018 Day 18: “Arsonist’s Lullaby” by Hozier

When your book’s hero goes by the monacre “Nightfire” and can spark flames using the flint in the heel of her shoe, “Arsonist’s Lullaby” becomes a must-have on the writing playlist. 

Then again, all of Hozier’s work is writing-appropriate. Try “Nina Cried Power” if you need an uplifting cry later before penning your pledge to the resistance. 

#NaNoWriMo2018 Day 14: You don’t deserve the queen

Lieutenant Swift turned the key, and the stereo along with the engine roared to life. The Beatles filled the car with words about a meter maid name dRita.

Lieutenant Baxter looked at his partner, who was nonchalantly putting the Mustang into gear. He chuckled.

“What?” she asked, whipping her head around so fast that one of her braids whipped him across the face.

“Nothing, just expected Beyonce, not Lennon and McCartney.”

“You don’t deserve the queen,” Swift said, peeling out of the parking lot.

#NaNoWriMo2018 Day 5: “Dominoes Fall” by Dario Marianelli

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, the gunpowder, treason and plot.

The first time I heard that little poem was in the film V for Vendetta (I read the graphic novel later, don’t worry). That’s why today felt like a good time to share this piece of the film’s score by Dario Marianelli:

To borrow from Stephon on Saturday Night Live, this track has everything: plenty of build up, a locomotive tempo, a sense of urgency. That’s probably why I use it often when writing confession scenes that turn into action sequences.

Also, in the spirit of tomorrow’s U.S. elections, let me leave you with this V for Vendetta reminder:

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Government should be afraid of their people.”

Remember, remember, to vote in November.

#NaNoWriMo2018 Day 2: “No Choir” by Florence + The Machine

Florence Welch and her band (+ the Machine) have always been part of my life soundtrack, from using “What Kind of Man” to get through a breakup — OK, a couple of breakups — to listening to “Drumming Song” and “Kiss from a Fist” on repeat the whole way from Columbia, Mo., to Champaign-Urbana, Ill.

Her newest album, High as Hope, is no different. Although “Hunger” is currently the radio track of choice, the final song, “No Choir,” is the one that stood out to me most because of its opening. She immediately starts off by bluntly singing:

“And it’s hard to write about being happy / because the older I get / I find that happiness is an extremely uneventful subject…”

It’s an interesting statement and reflects another piece of writing advice I’ve always taken to heart. Kurt Vonnegut’s rules for creative writing in the preface to Bagombo Snuffbox include “Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.” There’s very little room for placid happiness if terrible things keep happening.

Something to keep in mind while continuing on to Day 2 of this year’s NaNoWriMo.