Turning Music Into Stories
Ten random songs came up on my run yesterday. My iPhone was tuned to Pandora’s Steely Dan station, (thus the bounty of Steely Dan songs in the following list) but the overall selection of tunes was based on sonic algorithms unknown to me.
I found myself inspired by the lyrics coming into my head and thought, if you excised certain lines from basically any song, putting focus on those lines would be a great way to generate writing ideas. Whether you’re a poet, songwriter, novelist, or unclassifiable dabbler, droughts can affect the creative juices now and then. Why not go to a readily available source (your smart phone) to help generate inspiration?
From those ten random songs, I pulled interesting lines and thought it would be a neat exercise to build stories from them, using the words as pre-selected epigraphs. So use any of the following epigraphs to launch your next great short story or novel (or short and silly Facebook post). Or pull from your own Pandora playlist, if you don’t like these. Share anything you come up with! If nothing else, you will be reminded that Donald Fagen is a master lyricist.
It was still September when your daddy was quite surprised to find you with the working girls in the county jail. I was smoking with the boys upstairs when I heard about the whole affair.
Woman, let’s stay together. Loving you whether times are good or bad, happy or sad.
Rev. Al Green
There’s a special place for lovers, one we understand—there where neon bends in daylight sky. In that sunny room she soothes me, cools me with her fan. We’re drifting. A thousand years roll by.
Listen to the wind blow. Watch the sun rise. Run in the shadows. Damn your love, damn your lies.
The things that pass for knowledge I can’t understand.
You know, I saw Miss Lucy down along the tracks. She lost her home and her family and she won’t be coming back. Without love, where would you be now?
I said to my reflection, “Let’s get out of this place.”
I am so into you I can’t think of nothing else.
Atlanta Rhythm Section
The mourners are all singing as they drag you by your feet. But the hangman isn’t hanging and they put you on the street.
Like a gangster on the run, you will stagger homeward to your precious one. I’m the one who must make everything right—talk it out till daylight.