The Soundtrack of Our Lives

I never paid much attention to the soundtrack of my life until a few months after my life mate’s death when I realized all the things I wasn’t hearing. Every morning for decades, I woke to the motorized whine of his blender as he made a protein drink, the shushing of running water as he filtered the drinking water for the day, the clink of weights as he did his exercises. We were quiet people, but during the day, I’d occasionally I’d hear the soft hum of his music or tinny voices from the television in the other room. In the summer I could hear the rustle of the hose in the weeds as he watered the bushes and trees outside my window, and in the winter I could hear the stamp of his boots when he came in from clearing off snow. And always when we were together, there was the lovely sound of his voice as we talked and talked and talked — we talked of anything and everything until he got so sick he couldn’t carry the thread of a conversation any more. At the end, there were the scary night sounds of his falling when he tried to get out of bed, and the even scarier sounds of his yelps when he woke and couldn’t remember who he was or where he was.

Just from those sounds, you get an idea of our life together and how it ended. What is the soundtrack of your life? How has it changed over the years?

If you are a writer, what are the soundtracks of your characters’ lives? What do those sounds mean to your characters, and how does the soundtrack change during the course of the book to reflect the changes in their circumstances. How much can your readers tell about your characters from the sounds they hear?

4 Responses to “The Soundtrack of Our Lives”

  1. Rod Marsden Says:

    You have some great memories that come to you from remembered sounds. I am more a visual person but I still have my memories.

    I have based my female vampire Petra’s love of Jazz and loathing of disco on my own tastes. My werewolf, however, finds disco exciting.

    I grew up with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

  2. Pat Bertram Says:

    The soundtrack of A Spark of Heavenly Fire begins with normal city noises but with a cacophany of sirens. This noise fades into silence as the city is brought to a standtill by the epidimic. The silence becomes punctuated by the sound of gunfire, army tanks, helicopters, and fighter planes. And as the military sounds fade, the sound of voices and traffic slowly make their presence known.

    The soundtrack of Light Bringer is much lighter in tone, though the story itself is almost as dark as A Spark of Heavenly Fire. (Odd that I use such light-sounding titles for both these books of dastardly deeds by unfeeling governments and corporations.) When my two main characters meet, they make beautiful music together, (and sometimes discordant music if their moods don’t match). Others can hear these eerie sounds, so they learn to keep their distance when they are around others. They also hear sounds no one else does, such as flowers beckoning for them to come play or grasses whispering in the wind.

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    While writing “The Sun Singer,” it was “Nirvana Road.” While writing “Sarabande,” it was Mary Youngblood’s flute in “Beneath the Raven Moon.” I played the albums in which these songs are included in a loop while writing and they worked like magic to create the mood and allow me to visualize my characters.

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