Today's topic du jour was suggested by Carl Brush, who boldly stepped up to the plate and answered my cattle call for blog ideas. Want a blog linky for yourself? Just suggest a topic that I can use on my blog.
I've read quite a few short stories and novels in my time, and while every conceivable plot line was used, very few used music as a main base of operations. Peripheral? Absolutely. A lot of stories have music playing in the background or use it as a very minor transitional tool.
Note: Guilty on the transitional tool. My upcoming novel uses 70's Chicago soul and Bluegrass as a transitional tool to jump between a few scenes.
But there has been very few stories that use music as a lead platform, at least that I've seen or heard about. From my personal perspective and not counting my short story, I've found four that use music as a key platform for a story.
The first was a short story I read in a literary journal some six years ago that deconstructed a concert performed by a local band at a small club. The second was a story called "Underground Wonder Bar" featured in a good anthology called Noir @ The Bar (please see my review here), that takes place at an underground club. The third, also featured in the same anthology, was called "Outside Lou's" and the setting is a jazz club. The fourth was a story called "The Pickle", written by Chris LaTray, that was about a band whose instruments were stolen.
In case you're wondering, my story "Red Stripe" revolves around a punk rock singer and takes place at a punk rock club.
Other than those, I really haven't seen or read anything that features music as a key platform.
Why is that?
Is writing a story that revolves around music harder than writing one that features, say, a spaceship?
I know a lot of writers say they enjoy writing or editing while listening to music, but does it transcend to the story itself? If music can inspire you to write (and I'm guilty on that account), why can't it become a basis for a short story?
There is nothing more universal for inspiration than music. Music helps us create, helps pump us up, mellows us out and soothes our troubled spirits. Why can't we use it as a basis for a story? Why must it always be relegated to the status of a transitional tool or even worse, background noise?