Today’s Dispatch: The Writing Soundtrack

I’m one of those writers who always gets confused with the playlist i’m supposed to listen to, and the soundtrack for my writing.

This month’s Screnzy is no exception.

On the one hand, I have Ella Fitzgerald, for the moments where Claire wallows deeper in her own self-pity.


On the other: Terence Trent D’arby.

(In fairness, the man currently known as Sananda Maitreya has put out a lot of great stuff as Sananda Maitreya… but this is a TTD song, and a TTD song it shall always be to me.) 

I’m in the process of compiling a rough list of songs from the early ’90s that were more reflective of the circles that Claire and Mike were running through back then. I put down Mike’s senior year between 1992 and 1994, so grunge would’ve been too obvious; by then, everyone would have been into grunge, and that would have been way too conformist. Most of the Top 40 songs were out of the question, too, especially since some of them would still be a great source of embarrassment. (Yes, Apache Indian, I am looking at you.) So, I thought, why not put together a playlist that won’t cause me  – and my characters – too much emotional trauma?

Here’s what the playlist looks like so far. (Songs are available on YouTube, unless linked below)

Terence Trent D’Arby, “Do You Love Me Like You Say” 
Tasmin Archer, “Sleeping Satellite”
Dionne Farris, “I Know”
Jesus and Mary Chain, “Reverence”
Fugazi, “Waiting Room”
Depeche Mode, “Enjoy the Silence”
Ephraim Lewis, “Drowning in Your Eyes”
London Beat, “A Better Love”
The Smiths, “How Soon is Now”
Lenny Kravitz, “Heaven Help” – or “It Ain’t Over ’til it’s Over,” either way
Joan Osborne, “Ladder” (doesn’t really fit the Claire+Mike timeline, but I’m pegging this as somewhere around Claire’s 18th birthday – there’s a reason for this, which I can’t share right now)
Stereo MC’s, “Elevate My Mind” and “Connected” (come to think of it, all of my near-autobiographical characters have been listening to Stereo MC’s…)
Arrested Development, “Revolution” (more of a playlist rather than soundtrack choice, since Claire and Mike were in debate together)

…And, like many playlists in my life, it’s still an ongoing process, so it’s going to evolve as I write along. Here’s hoping it all works.


Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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