Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Song Says It Best

My current ms is hell to write. This story has been simmering in my brain for months, so this isn’t a surprise. After thinking I’d finally settled on a title that’s now up for debate… and I suck at titles. So, there’s that.

Then, there’s the issue of the actual subject matter. We won’t go there. It’s bad enough I have to write about it in the story. I’m not going to repeat myself here.

But every now and again a piece from a larger puzzle comes into focus, and I can see the moment perfectly, which is important, because this story isn’t about external action as much as it’s about internal turmoil.

This piece came about because of the title debate. For some bizarre reason, looking at my itunes playlists, I was drawn to Tom Cochrane’s 1986 album, although I hadn’t listened to it in ages. Funny that later this year I’ll be debating with Peter over the use of musical references in crime fiction. I’m just handing him ammunition here, admitting this, but I was convinced I’d find something on Cochrane’s album. And this is doubly strange because when I’m looking for musical inspiration I usually listen to Bruce Cockburn…

My favourite song by Cochrane is from Mad Mad World. It’s a cheery little song about love lost:

God I hate your needles and

Your dirty little vial of pills

I guess I love the sweat you put me through

I know I love your body

Like I used to love your mind

But now your soul's a slave

To all the things you use

I put you in the tub babe

With five big pounds of ice

If you don't get back up

I don't know what I'll do

I've walked around the room

Here nearly 37 Times

Can you hear me now

And am I getting through

That wouldn’t really fit this book. My instincts were correct, though. I may just have found a new title option because of this song, but that pales by comparison to the moment of clarity that some of the other tracks provided.
So, although this ms is proving to be torture, I at least now have music to go with the misery. And the song is just ambiguous enough to not really give any clues to even the three people other than my agent who have read What Burns Within. Much of it isn’t a direct correlation – it’s the sentiments that are more precise – but there’s one line in there of raw truth that connects to the story that it just guts me.

With that, I’m off to find Kleenex.

Another place in another time

I'd know that face anywhere

Without a trace and without a sign

Anytime you could come to me

In the night

When you thought

No one should have known

With your hard luck little girl look

And the trouble that you'd own

You'd come like the wind

When the night got so cold

And leave with the light

Like you didn't even know you'd

Come at all


One more time

You could walk back in

One more time

It's the same south highway again

One less chance and then one less mistake

Some old habits are hard to break

Like you

If a heart could ever learn to say goodbye

And not let time take the best away

Still I Learn

Look down and I'd ask knowing why

Still this time is the destiny

I'd wait while you climb your golden stair

Hard luck then little girl

I know it's nowhere

Still you feel

They beat on you like a drum

If you get tired, torn and wasted

You know I'd never be one


So many times

When it gets hard to

See the truth

When you got to survive you

Tow the line and you compromise

Until you live a lie
Another place in another time

I'd know that face anywhere and I

Without a trace and without a sign

I still remember


Brian said...

I hate to see a post with no comments. Just for the record I think one of the best song titles ever is "Haiku d'Etat".

It has nothing to do with the post but thats all I got. :)

Sandra Ruttan said...

I don't mind Brian - sometimes it's nice! And I've been having trouble posting comments elsewhere, so blogger may just be being pissy today.