Words and Music.

This week my focus has been on revising. But my inspiration for new stories, works-in-progress and ways to improve finished works stays ever evolving. One of the things I love to do while penning a story or delving into the mind of a character is listen to music. It centers me, draws me toward a deeper meaning and pushes me to dive further into the prose. Today, Joni Mitchell was in the news. Coincidentally (or not) for the past couple of days I’ve had some select favorites on repeat from her album,¬†The Hissing of Summer Lawns.


Best thing about singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell is that she’s not only a musician but a thoughtful and engaging storyteller. I listen to one of her songs, and like a moving picture reel, see the scenario play out in my mind in vivid detail. In turn I am inspired. One of the finest examples of this is in her song Edith and the Kingpen. Listen to it below and read the lyrics. If you’ve never heard it before, it may blow your mind.


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7FP4FEDWrA]


Lyrics (written by Joni Mitchell):


The big man arrives
Disco dancers greet him
Plainclothes cops greet him
Small town, big man, fresh lipstick glistening
Sophomore jive
From victims of typewriters
The band sounds like typewriters
The big man he’s not listening
His eyes hold Edith
His left hand holds his right
What does that hand desire
That he grips it so tight

Edith in the ring
The passed-over girls are conferring
The man with the diamond ring is purring
All claws for now withdrawn
One by one they bring
His renegade stories to her
His crimes and his glories to her
In challenge they look on
Women he has taken grow old too soon
He tilts their tired faces
Gently to the spoon

Edith in his bed
A plane in the rain is humming
The wires in the walls are humming
Some song-some mysterious song
Bars in her head
Beating frantic and snow blind
Romantic and snow blind
She says-his crime belongs
Edith and the Kingpin
Each with charm to sway
Are staring eye to eye
They dare not look away
You know they dare not look away




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