That Song in Your Head
January 13, 2012 § 3 Comments
William Bradley blogs on songs as nonfiction prompts over at Lit Bits, a Bedford/St. Martins teaching blog. Bradley is a Brevity author and uses a Brevity example, and the exercise is pretty nifty. Here’s the lead-up, and a link to the full post below:
In the small town where I live, one of our nicer restaurants often has their satellite radio tuned to a station that plays exclusively soft rock from the 80s and early 90s. Air Supply. Foreigner. A little Journey or, if we’re really lucky, solo Steve Perry. But there’s one song that seems to come on every time we eat there, one song that causes my wife to reach across the table, grab my hand and whisper, “Don’t sing. Don’t sing. Don’t sing. I mean it.”
The song I’m talking about is Chicago’s song “Look Away,” which a quick Internet search tells me was written by Diane “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” Warren. … This is not a particularly good song. In fact, I don’t think it’s very good at all. But I love it anyway, and feel the urge to sing along with not-Peter Cetera every time it comes on. This desire has nothing to do with Diane Warren’s craft or not-Peter Cetera’s singing, and has everything to do with the memories this song evokes for me…
I’ve found that most people have such a song—a song whose opening bars can transport them back to a specific moment in their lives. In fact, some of us have several. So in my creative nonfiction classes, I begin the semester with something I call The Music and Memory Exercise.