I’m sitting here listening to a playlist of mine called Fave Thoughtful which essentially consists of slower songs that aren’t as easy to sing along with as my Fave Sing Along playlist.
(I have a ridiculous number of song playlists. My original Faves playlist has 150 songs on it so I decided to break it down a bit more since moving from Thugman by Tweet to The Only Time by Nine Inch Nails to Another Suitcase in Another Hall by Evita is a bit jarring.)
(Below that Fave list I have a total of 43 “like” playlists that combined include 2992 songs at the moment. I have a bit of a thing for music obviously. Anyway.)
It made me realize something odd.
I have a large number of songs on my favorites playlists that I’ve loved for ages. Since I was maybe even a pre-teen. (Kenny Rogers was my favorite singer when I was eight. I remember crying while repeatedly replaying Islands in the Stream during my first big breakup in 3rd grade.)
Long before I had any life experiences that would make me choose those kinds of songs, I loved songs like Spilled Perfume by Pam Tillis and We’ve Got Tonight by Kenny Rogers. Songs about failed love and yearning for lost relationships and choosing the wrong person and loss.
I can now, later in life, tie actual life experiences to some of those songs. And I’ve definitely come to like newer songs because they remind me of a past experience, but for me it was often the songs that came first, not the experience.
And it makes me wonder whether it was some weird sort of predisposition of mine that made me gravitate towards those types of songs and then those types of life experiences. Or whether those songs created some kind of emotional groove in my mind that then led me to seek out those experiences in my life. Like if all I’d ever been exposed to were happy songs about getting married and living happily ever after for fifty years if that’s what I would’ve been drawn towards instead of hitting the road and moving on.
I don’t know. It’s an interesting thought.
And I think this does tie back to writing in some sense, too.
I’ve been reading a lot of new-to-me authors recently and some fit comfortably because the main characters react in a way that makes sense for me whereas others make me almost itchy to read because I keep thinking, “No. Why would you do that? That’s stupid.”
Or wrong. (I’m still angry years later about the character who could see the future and saw their friend being destroyed by drug use who then started using drugs with the friend. Like, what? What are you thinking? You can see this person will destroy their life this way and you…help them do it? Huh?)
I know going forward that I’ll end up reading more from the authors whose characters’ values and decisions fit with what makes sense to me and less of those who don’t which then ends up reinforcing the whole circle of values and beliefs and perspective that I already had.
This is also why I don’t think every author is for every reader and that to succeed with fiction you ultimately have to find “your” readers who are those who align enough with what you write that they stay with and return to your stories. The key is finding those readers, of course.
And now I’m going to stop writing this because while I’ve been writing it Smoke Rings in the Dark by Gary Allan, A Couple More Years by Dr. Hook, I Don’t Need You by Kenny Rogers, and now Not Gon’ Cry by Mary J. Blige have played and I think maybe I need therapy based on my song choices. Seriously.