There are many songs that have really inspired me while working on my situational comedy novella, Night Time, Dotted Line. Most of these pieces are indie, folk, and a couple pop songs. It amazes me though that almost everyday, I hear something new that just seems to jive with everything happening in the manuscript and with the two characters. Night Time, Dotted Line is a dramedy about two characters who’ve just met one another who have agreed to go on a 3000 mile road trip across the country together. Along the way they run into several strange situations and people, but also have to contend with one another. The journey allows them to find the faults in themselves and one another and ultimately, try to heal from experiences that have been haunting them. This is a huge change from most of my other works which are much, MUCH darker. But it also allows me to listen to much more upbeat music during the darkest time of the year in Maine; winter. While working my way toward the end of the second draft, I’ve come across a wonderful band with deep lyrics but also that feel good vibe that makes fantastic road music: Kings of Convenience.
Kings of Convenience are an indie/folk/pop duo from Norway. I didn’t even know that they were Norwegian! They’re English is impeccable and it’s hard to distinguish an accent at all while they’re singing. I’ve also fallen in love with the way these two men harmonize. It’s nearly impossible to know which one of them is singing because their voices are so similar and equally as moving. I’ve listened to a number of their songs and a number of them inspire scenes for Night Time, Dotted Line. However, there are a few that stick out over others. Today, I’m going to share those 6 songs with you and the scenes that pop into my head when I listen to them. Enjoy!
Misread: The little car practically hummed as it sped down the freeway. Inside, he was still trying to recover from the verbal blows that she’d thrown at him. She was similarly silent in the passenger seat, staring out her window. Neither one wanted to make eye contact nor acknowledge that the other existed, if only for just a little while. He’d hoped that this drive would go okay. Being an eternal pessimist, he’d expected it not to. What a surprise! he thought as he moved the car into one of the faster lanes and slipped around a red minivan. He knew they weren’t going to get much further without the argument unfolding. It was something he wished he could avoid. If only he hadn’t asked that question. If only she wasn’t so damn defensive over everything! He shook his head. This road trip was far from over, and this disagreement would make it feel ten times longer.
I’d Rather Dance With You: She stared across the dance floor to him, sitting at a table and swirling his drink around in its glass. He knew what she was thinking. And the smile that curled on her lips filled him with a new-found energy. Everything bad he’d been reminiscing about seemed to filter out of his mind as he stood and crossed the floor to her. He held out a hand and she took it immediately. Before he knew it they were both on the dance floor, their bodies moving rhythmically, hers following his as they swept across the floor. The light tones of the music opened up a box of happiness in him as he listened to them. He didn’t know there was this secret store, didn’t know he could feel so alive when he’d felt so terrible moments ago. She kept his eyes focused on hers as they moved. It was almost as though he could read her mind and she his, following him across the dance floor, their bodies growing closer while the song played. People had cleared the floor and left it open for them. She didn’t say anything and neither did he. This speechless communication was so much more special, the knowledge that they could enjoy a moment letting their bodies and the music sync together in strange harmony.
Mrs. Cold: He watched her storm down the motel stairs and out across the parking lot. Her head was high, the scowl partially masked by her sunglasses. He hadn’t meant to say what he had. It was all just to prove a point. And he had thought they were having a friendly argument, one in jest. She reached the street and after a moment of looking back and forth, turned to the left and stalked off behind a building and out of view. He sat down on the bed. No matter what he did, she always seemed to be keeping something back from him. He wasn’t sure what it was that was such a mystery about her. He just wished she’d say something about it. But that wasn’t necessarily fair. They’d just met one another a couple days ago. And he hadn’t told her about himself when she’d asked. He was just going to have to bite his tongue.
Winning The Battle, Losing The War: He lie in his sleeping bag staring up at the stars, his mind twisted with thoughts about his ex-wife. She had been right in a number of ways. But he had defended himself, he hadn’t wanted her to turn him into a fragile thing. She didn’t have to take care of him like a nurse at an old folk’s home. But he realized with startling clarity that she did. She’d promised to, just as he’d promised to at their wedding. She had been just as scared as he’d been. But he hadn’t believed it. He’d been so frightened of himself, so frightened of his own fragility that he’d pushed her out. And it had been the last straw. She’d been drifting slowly away before that, for her own reasons. But this had been the moment that he’d lost everything. He’d refused to believe that she cared enough, that anyone could be so deeply invested in him. Marriage was supposed to be about that trust and that understanding. Why hadn’t he appreciated it when he’d had it?
Know-How feat. Feist: Evening was closing in, turning the sky a deep salmon pink. The sun in bright orange set fire to the clouds and cast a shadow over the road they drove further down. He’d made the commitment. And his selfishness had kept them from making headway. He needed to take the wheel for a while now, to show her that he really could get passed this. He needed to prove that he was a bigger person than he had been. She deserved that. Things would always be painful in his past. There was no way to change them. But there would be a way to move on from them, an opportunity to heal and try to leave those bad memories behind, cover them with better ones. He just needed to have faith in the future and the possibilities it held. He had her to thank for that. Someone who seemed so selfless and yet didn’t keep connections with anyone. He began to wonder again what had happened to her and why she didn’t want to grow close to anyone.
Scars on Land: The windows were open but the rush of air that blew in felt stale and warm. She leaned against him and he’d put his arm around him. But it was hardly a happy moment. The car felt oddly empty and the sadness had permeated its every crevice, its every molecule. It was hard to believe that up until then, they’d been traveling rather happily, the few arguments and disagreements aside. This had killed her and unexpectedly wounded him. But she’d also leaned on him, she’d needed him for support. He had been there for her when she’d needed it. And she’d relied on him, something he hadn’t expected but was grateful for. The sun had risen high and the sky was cloudless and powder blue. Their destination wasn’t too far ahead of them now. But underneath that expectation that it would all be over soon, he realized that he didn’t want it to end so soon.
Next week on Inspiration Through Music, we will be looking at the music from a particularly amazing video game that completely swept the world off its feet last year when it was released… episode by episode. The Walking Dead Game soundtrack is next week. Stay tuned!