Word Soup

Word Soup

 

This is my inaugural post on The Spice Aisle (yay!) so I figured it might make sense for me to introduce myself. I’m Nia Forrester, and I write what I like to call ‘romantic realism’. I use that label because think it’s important to set clear and honest expectations for your readers up front. And since I break a lot of the rules of the romance genre, I never want folks to start one of my books expecting one thing, and then be crestfallen because they get something else entirely.

But enough about that. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time during my run on The Spice Aisle to bore you with details about my “process.” This time though, I want to talk about my relationship with music. ‘Dinner Music’ sounds so polite, so it’s actually kind of funny that I’d get assigned to this feature because: the music I like most in the world, and which inspires me creatively is probably the least polite in all the world. Hip hop. That’s where I find my brightest sparks when looking for ideas.

What inspires me about that genre is the absolute rawness of it, the realness of it, and the word-soupy-ness of it. Hip hop artists pay attention to rhythm, rhyme and cadence above all else. And to do that, they use words in unconventional ways, and sometimes even make words up. They’ve changed how we use language in ways that even literary fiction writers–those connoisseurs of the written word–have not managed to do.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Like … what are they even saying, right? But the fearlessness of their creativity is undeniable, even if you hate hip hop … I don’t have to like what you create musically, but I’ll always love the creativity itself.

For someone who loves words as much as I do, but is sometimes frustrated by my inability to make them convey the mood and feel I want to communicate, I really dig it that the really talented hip hop artists are brave enough to do with words all that I cannot. Well … at least not yet.

Love & Light,

Nia

P.S. I lied. I actually do know what they’re saying. So if you’re curious, hit me up and I’ll send you the lyrics. 😉

 

My Inner Deborah Harry

My Inner Deborah Harry

Every now and then, a song will get stuck in my head and I just can’t shake it. Sometimes, it’s a song I hate–or perhaps that’s too strong. Let’s say it’s a song I don’t really connect with.More often than not, it will be music that ends up on my writing soundtracks. Yes, I make Spotify playlists that I refer to as the soundtracks of my novels.

Lately two songs keep popping up in my mind: “Heart of Glass”  and “Dreaming” by Blondie. Both songs keep popping up on my writing playlists and I find myself singing them in the shower at least 3-4 times a week. I’m sure my neighbours are sick of hearing me caterwauling these tunes. 🙂

When I was younger, I loved Deborah Harry. She was everything I knew I was not: cool, sexy, quirky and thoroughly her own person. Though I looked nothing like her, I tried to channel some of her “I don’t care” vibe whenever I was feeling particularly nerdy in a bad way.  I guess it was only natural–I had pretty strict parents who were always trying to make me look “presentable”. We were like the Cosby kids in my neighborhood in Philly. We always had to put on our best faces and pretend we were perfect. And we did a good job of it because everyone thought we were the perfect kids: always so polite, always so well-spoken and well-dressed (meaning boringly dressed). It’s why I always took an extra set of clothes with me to school to change in so I could be the real me, or at least the me I wanted to be. And that was when I channeled my inner Deborah Harry. I may not have been as cool as she was, but I could tell myself I was.

I think a lot of us who grew up in the late 70s and 1980s wanted to be her or at least have a little of her aloofness, coolness. Even when she was at her worst, she was still iconic. And when she made a comeback a few years ago, it just made me love her even more.

I am forty-something and I still love Deborah Harry Blondie. I think a bit of her ends up in all the characters I write.

In the novella I am working on, “Heart of Glass” is pretty much the theme for at least part of the story. I think Håkan and Jessica both have hearts of glass, though he’s probably a little more vulnerable than she is. He’s the one wearing his heart on his sleeve. And yeah, “Dreaming” is a pretty big part of the story too. So, even if the story is set in Stockholm and Sardinia, there’s a little nostalgia creeping in and Deborah Harry is there somewhere. 🙂

What about you? What song’s stuck in your head now?