Thursday, 17 July 2008

Amy Winehouse and My Teen Book - Anne Cassidy

I don't get writer's block. Every now and then I get a case of Deflating Writer though. Sitting at my computer I seem to flop in my chair, all my storytelling energy gone. This is when I need some music.

A year ago my husband got me to listen to Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. Ever since then it's been my record of choice whenever I'm alone and in need of some emotional Viagra.

It's raw and quite brilliant. As I listen to it I experience a range of feelings. I felt sensuous, moody, angry, frustrated, exalted, busted. I feel the passion in Winehouse's voice and the power of her lyrics about how messy and sad and avaricious love can be. I sing along to her racy words and become involved with the lovers in the songs. Never mind about real life and what has happened to those people. I hook onto the fiction and the feel the hair on the back of my neck stir when I swoon along to Love is a Losing Game. Yes it is. Or it can be.

It reminds me of when I wrote my first teen novel in the late eighties. Then I really was writing about my own teenage years and I deliberately bought records from that period (late sixties) to listen to. Perhaps the main ones were Smokey Robinson and Miracles and also The Four Tops. I even named my main character 'Brenda' after a Four Tops song. That music brought back my teens and all the longing and disappointment of teen love affairs. That first book is forever associated with that music for me.

When the Amy Winehouse CD is finished I am bolstered up and back to my computer. I need my emotions fired up to write well about my teens for whom love and life is often a difficult road. This music will be associated with the book I wrote during 2007/8 while listening to it. A book about jealousy and violence in a relationship. It's called Just Jealous.


Lucy Coats said...

Talk about serendipity--I opened your blog as I was listening to Amy Winehouse sing 'Love is a Losing Game'. A good choice of writing music, obviously... Lucy

Damian Harvey said...

I find I need silence when I'm actually writing and while I can cut out the background noise of other people I find music very intrusive. I find myself stepping out of the world I'm writing about and listening to the words and getting lost in the music. But like you, I do find it very rejuvenating. For this I lean towards some of the older albums from storytelling singer/songwriters… Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The Wild The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle’ with its romances of the New Jersey streets and Al Stewart’s ‘Year of The Cat’ being two of my favourites.

Sally said...

I usually have music on while I write ... it helps block the rest of the world out, and I got used to working to music when i was a student.

But I've heard other authors speak very scathingly about the practice.

fionadunbar said...

Back to Black is a truly great album...though I am sick of it now, so overplayed, and bored with Amy. She lost her mojo some time ago; I really hope she gets it back. I think it was about 18 months ago that I heard her sing the title track (my fave) live, unnaccompanied, on Jonathan Ross' radio show, and I had goosebumps and a tear in my eye. That wouldn't happen now.