Writing 101, Day Three: Commit to a Writing Practice
Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?
“Love You to Death” by Type O Negative. It came out in the mid-90’s, on the October Rust album, and it has guided through all of my teenage angst. It gave me a center, something to focus on when everything else seemed to be going so wrong (even if it was just the teenage hormones making it seem that way). TON is still my favorite band to this day, and “Love You to Death” remains my number-one favorite song by them. October Rust as a whole seems to personify a lot of what is valuable to me. It’s my light in a shadowy world, my heart even when the world feels so heartless. It’s the romance that I aspire to and dream of… It’s what keeps me writing, what inspires me, what makes me want to be inspiring. It’s that word– love– that gives as much as it asks, pushes us onward. And I don’t care that Peter Steele is every goth girl’s dream man, that he is unattainable… his music is a gift that we can all share. It creates a special meaning to every individual, that precious something that gets down into your heart and nests there to help you create something new. Peter criticized his own music, but what he wrote is pure genius.
The other two songs? I could list other TON songs, I suppose, but that hardly seems fair. I could talk about Japanese music, whether it be koto or shamisen or even anime, but that hardly seems right. There’s White Zombie’s “Blood, Milk and Sky,” and Live’s “Lightning Crashes,” or… I don’t know, all number of songs. They’re inspirational, emotional, deep, eerie. I have discovered some songs and bands more recently, and it hardly seems fair to put those ahead of those with long-standing meaning.
It’s interesting how we didn’t create this music ourselves, yet it’s so deeply embedded in our hearts and minds. Heck, the music is in me even though a lot of the artists are dead or have moved on. Peter Steele may have died, but his band’s music remains an important part of who I am. There are a couple bands that I lost respect for because of their money-grubbing ways a few years back, but I can’t help that the music that first made me like them still sounds good (it’s really too bad that they had to reveal that greedy side). Some have changed their sound, some have shifted to another creative outlet.
Complain if you want, call it what you will, but I cannot place the other two songs… there are too many that deserve that honor. Number one was easy, but how do I put De/Vision’s “Star-Crossed Lovers” ahead of the way that Green Day’s Dookie album and Marilyn Manson– starting with Smells Like Children– shaped me way back when? And yea, it started off fairly mainstream, and it’s developed and grown and branched out since then. Apoptygma Berzerk and Corvus Corax and Covenant and… and so many more. I cannot even share them all.
What’s important is that music has done a lot for me. I cannot write or play music, but I can get into it when I hear it. I can take in the notes and the rhythm and the words and channel them into something else: writing. When I find a song that I can link to my stories, my world, and let it inspire me, it helps the words flow. I can create something of my own, something new. That’s inspiration… even if it comes from Nobuo Uematsu’s “dancing Mad.”