Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Power of Music

“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” True, but it has the power to do so much more. It can also motivate us, make us laugh or make us cry.
Music has always been an important part of my life. When I was growing up, my father liked to watch Mitch Miller and Lawrence Welk on TV. We had an old player piano and I remember sitting next to Dad while he pumped those pedals and sang along with the music on the rolls. My mother preferred what she referred to as “livelier” music; she was (and still is) a fan of rock ’n roll, especially Elvis. So, early on, I was exposed to all different kinds of music. As a result, I developed eclectic tastes.
When someone asks me what my favorite song is, I quickly respond, “Hotel California,” by the Eagles, because it reminds me of my vacation to Todos Santos (All Saints), Mexico where I visited the Hotel California. But, depending on my mood and what I’m doing, I have other “favorites.” For example, although I usually prefer absolute silence when I’m writing, I will occasionally listen to classical music. My hands down favorite is Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a theme from Paganini.” It was the music they played in the movie “Somewhere in Time.”
When I clean house, I like to listen to our local Oldies station because they play my favorite songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s. They get me swinging my hips and my vacuum cleaner. I prefer happy, upbeat music. Not only does it help motivate me, it gets me out of my funk if I’m in One Of Those Moods. Reggae has the same effective on me, especially Bob Marley’s tunes. I also love banjo music and Charlie Daniels’ fiddle.
I use music in my writing too. Ann, the main character in Mixed Messages, was raised by her grandmother, Nana, a retired music teacher. So, like me, there was always music in the house when Ann was growing up; she relies on music to cheer her up too. 
It’s the week of Halloween and, if you peek through the window into Ann’s kitchen, you just might catch her sashaying to the strains of “Elvira.” With a serial killer on the loose in her neighborhood and all the other problems she has, Ann needs all the help she can get!