3 Songs Critical to My Next Novel

Nothing inspires me to write a story quite like a song. Put on a song that moves me, and the writing wires in my brain start going cah-razy.

My next still-unnamed novel is about Sarah and Adam. They’ve known each other for more than 20 years, but haven’t seen each other in about 5. They were each other’s first everything, and the last time they saw each other they were smack dab in the middle of an epic romance. Now they’re moving awkwardly around each other as they figure out how the heck to act around one another.

One of the first grown-up scenes I saw in my head involved Sarah singing karaoke to Lee Brice’s “Hard to Love.” I saw the whole performance very clearly, down to Sarah’s outfit and the layout of the bar. I thought about the lyrics and how they might fit Sarah. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’m going to let you make your own inference/prediction. Eventually, you’ll be able to see if you were right:

I am insensitive, I have a tendency
To pay more attention to the things that I need.
Sometimes I drink too much, sometimes I test your trust,
Sometimes I don’t know why you stay with me.

I’m hard to love, hard to love,
No, I don’t make it easy,
I couldn’t do it if I stood where you stood.
I’m hard to love, hard to love,
You say that you need me,
I don’t deserve it but I love that you love me, good.

I am a short fuse, I am a wrecking ball
Crashing into your heart like I do
You’re like a Sunday morning, full of grace and full of Jesus
I wish that I could be more like you.

I’m hard to love, hard to love,
No, I don’t make it easy,
I couldn’t do it if I stood where you stood,
I’m hard to love, hard to love,
You say that you need me,
I don’t deserve it but I love that you love me, good.
Love me, good.

Girl, you’ve given me a million second chances
And I don’t ever wanna take you for granted,
I’m just a man, I’m just a man

Hard to love, hard to love,
Oh, I don’t make it easy
And I couldn’t do it if I stood where you stood.
I’m hard to love, hard to love
And you say that you need me,
I don’t deserve it but I love that you love me, good,
You love me, good.

You love me, good.

The worship song that puts me with Adam and Sarah is “This is Amazing Grace.” This is a powerful, powerful song, specifically the lyric: Who brings our chaos, back into order; who makes the orphan, a son and daughter? The King of Glory, the King above all Kings. Sarah’s life is chaotic on a few foundational levels, and this song reminds me that for those of us choosing to believe in the King of Glory, He will right our world every time:

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory

Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy, worthy, worthy

This is an off-the-beaten path country song. It’s not on the radio right now, but maybe it will be someday. (Peacelovegreatcountrymusic, what do you think?) This song speaks to the Sarah’s constant sense of disquiet as she weaves her way through a broken heart (not for the reasons you’re thinking), an old lover who will not go away, and a home life that is nothing like what she expected it to be when she arrived back home. Kip Moore’s “Where You Are Tonight” gives me a clear visual for the restlessness of Sarah’s heart:

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking, drinking, and smoking
And hoping that it’s me that’s floating through your mind, floating through your mind

Then I get that feeling, trying to stop my hands from shaking,
Staring at the ceiling, and kneeling, and making deals with the man above
Yeah, with the man above

Oh, I, I, I’m wondering where you are tonight

I wring the sheets out when I’m sweating,
Soaking wet, pacing, chasing the visions
And wishing that I could kiss,
Instead of missing you,

Can’t catch my breath, kinda feels like I’m suffocating, my mind’s a wreck
At best, I think my heart is breaking down on me, breaking down on me

Oh, I, I I’m wondering where you are tonight
I, I, tell me will we ever get it right
I, I, I’m wondering where you are tonight

Can you feel me when I reach for you
Hear me when I say Your name
See me walking through your door
Or are we just too far away
Too Far away

Tell me when I’m out of sight, am I out of mind,
Do you count the seconds and minutes, just wanna speed up time
Girl, are you missing me all the ways I’m missing you,
Could you tell me how the hell I’m suppose to make it through?

Oh, I, I I’m wondering where you are tonight
I, I, tell me will we ever get it right
I, I, I’m wondering where you are tonight

Wondering where you are tonight
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking, drinking and smoking
And Hoping
I wring the sheets out when I’m sweating,
Soaking wet, pacing, chasing the visions and wishing
Can’t catch my breath, kinda feels like I’m suffocating, my mind’s a wreck
At best, I think my heart is breaking down on me

D-d-down on me
Wondering where you are tonight 

 

*This is in response to: Writing 101, Day Three: Commit to a Writing Practice

Today, celebrate three songs that are significant to you.
For your twist, write for fifteen minutes without stopping — and build a writing habit.

*For my first book, check this out. TV shows, more than songs, inspired my first novel, “Making Room.” I wrote about it here.

3 comments

  1. I’ve tried to reason with myself, but I just can’t get into Kip. I’m sure he is a good guy, but I think he is a carbon copy of the nine trillion men played on country radio. He has an unreleased single called Faith When I Fall that is better than most everything he has done. I don’t see it being released, but it’s pretty. I wish someone else was singing it, but it’s a good song.

    • I can totally appreciate your perspective! I don’t know why I chose him to like out of the carbon copies you’re talking about. Most of the men out right now, I like one, maybe two, songs of theirs and the rest of the album is a complete bore. But his voice just does something to me… You like most of Lee Brice’s stuff, right? His “I Don’t Dance,” which I first heard on your site, inspired my next novel (should I ever write it). Something about his voice, too.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s