"There ain't nothing you can say to a playa'
'Cause doo-wop, she fly like the planes in the air"
- from "Suga Suga" by Baby Bash
Now, this was okay—usually—but sometimes he’d get obsessed with just one ten- or fifteen-second lick in a song and he’d play just that part on repeat. Over and over. For hours. Sure, it would bug me, but I also got it. He was trying to hold onto the emotion he found in the music, whatever it was, and he didn’t want to let it go.
Charm & Strange is the book I wrote. It’s a book about madness and monsters and grief. It’s also about the dark, dark things inside us that make us who we are. When I was writing it, I happened to hear a song on the radio with just the right dreamy-sad sort of hook and it helped me get inside the mind of Winston, my dreamy-sad main character. The song evoked in me all the feelings I needed him to feel—sorrow-despair-longing—and quickly became associated with his voice. So I listened to it on repeat as I wrote and revised. Over and over. I didn’t want to let it go.
The song was “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash. It’s sort of a ridiculous song. I know that. When I listen to the lyrics, I realize, despite the mournful-sounding guitar riff, it’s (mostly) about a boy enjoying the simple pleasures of being with a girl he likes. And while my book isn’t about romance or lust or falling in love, in some ways, being comfortable enough in his own skin to someday find such moments of easy peace is what I wish most for my Winston.
So maybe that is what my book is about.
How about you? What's the one defining song for your novel? What emotion does that song evoke for you?
Oh! And here's a sweet little acoustic cover of "Suga Suga" by Steve G. Enjoy!