I just finished writing “Reflections of a Bathroom Mirror”.
No, it is not a new story or book I am working on, but it is the theme I use in my books to indicate a new chapter.
It started as a simple idea when I was writing my first book. I had so many names for the story that I could not just stick with one. It was almost every day I was thinking of a new name for a story and I thought,
“Do all of these names mean something to the story?”
Turns out, they did when I really thought about it.
I have a chapter in Undying Love called, “‘Cause I Used to Love You”. I was having a conversation with one of my beta readers and they asked me,
My stepmother was really big on ’60’s and ’70’s hits. I mean you name it, Gladys Knight, The Commodores, etc. and it just GUSHED with soul, meaning and wonder.
I remember going on long car rides and our rides going late into the night and those songs just comforted me and sometimes, I would just sleep to their wonderfully warm melodies like a soulful lullaby comprised of soft but powerful vocals. This is where the bulk of my imagination was cultivated because it allowed my mind to wander freely and some of my earliest stories were inspired by the way music shaped my heart.
I remember one song in particular, it was by Lenny Williams called, “‘Cause I love You”. It was about a guy that was just going through the motions because his wife (or girlfriend, idrk) left him.
There was a part in the song where he stopped singing and his voice just sat down in a chair next to you, cracked open a beer and started to talk to you about how shitty things were after she left him:
“One time things got so bad until,
I had to go to one of my friends and talk to him,
And I told him, I said, you know?
I’m having problems with the woman that I love,
It seems that I call her on the phone and I just can’t get her to answer,
And then I went to her house and I saw a car parked in the driveway,
I knocked on the door, but still my knocks went unanswered…”
And I remember this so well because I could just feel the pain in his voice as he was telling this to someone. It was like the tears were just being held back by nothing but the lies he told himself like everything was going to be okay, and he knew they wouldn’t be.
“‘Cause I Used to Love You…” was written close to this style because I, too, felt this before and I remember feeling like I was so down that I could not go on. I wanted the reader to feel what I felt when that happened to me so that the scene felt authentic.
The names of my chapters have meaning in them. I want the reader to interpret the meaning of my work from many different angles. Art is made to make you feel something, even if it is different from your neighbor. The art of Lenny Williams’ pain when he wrote that song so long ago was fuel for me to make something special. I’m sure he will never read this blog, but if he does, thank you for that amazing piece of soul which is regarded as the best love song ever written.
What about you? What other forms of art have influenced your writing?
I know I’m speaking to a ghost audience now, but, if this is 2, 3 or 10 years from now, I’m sure this question will still be relevant.
I write from the heart and I shoot from the hip. I never let my head get too big and I always try to keep my feet on solid ground.
You should do the same.