Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Song Lyrics

Have you ever had a song lyric prompt a book?  A scene in a book?  A short story?  Or just simply get your mind running along a track it couldn't get off of?

I have.  Here are a few that have gotten me thinking in recent weeks.  Feel free to share yours.

  • ...I realize you're easy on the eyes, hard on the heart...
  • ...dancing backwards in high heels...
  • ...and when he died, all he left us was alone...


  1. Can't say I remember a lyric prompting me to write a scene or a story but there's one which I quote in talks I give about short story writing. It's a terrific example of how minute, seemingly insignificant details add to a story's impact. It's Bobby Gentry's Ode to Bill-Joe. Things such as 'Poppa said to Momma as he passed around the black-eyes peas, 'Billy-Joe never had a lick of sense. Pass the biscuits please.' Brilliant. It makes the tragedy even deeper.

  2. Exactly! It's that brilliant, emotional punch that causes us to think about the song lyric long after it's faded from our hearing. And to tap into its emotion.

    I can't tell you how many times I've heard the lyrics from "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" echo in my head. Typically fathers (or parents) leave some legacy to their children. I still remember the very first time I heard the lyrics "...and when he died, all he left us was alone..." it's as if someone kicked me in the stomach. Here I was, prepared to hear that Papa left his kids something small, like maybe his hat, but he left them this whole, huge,void of "alone."

    It's what drives me to improve my writing: hoping that some small part of it will pack an emotional punch for just one reader.