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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

la la la la la la la la

Since I've essentially been spamming livejournal all day, it seems like a good time to carry on with that. Every so often I get asked if I listen to music while writing, and if so what kind. And the answer is yes, obsessively and eclectically. And furthermore, I go so far as to make playlists of songs for each work in progress.

Sometimes they are short--the short story "Sounding" had a playlist of exactly three songs, as I recall, and I am lucky kit_kindred didn't put a shovel through my head by the time I had it written. (The songs were, IIRC, Billy Joel's "The Downeaster Alexa," Jethro Tull's "The Whaler's Dues," and Cris Williamson's "Leviathan." There may have been one other one.)

"Sonny Liston Takes The Fall" had a four song playlist: John Gorka's "Dream Street," Mark Knopfler's "Song for Sonny Liston," Dan Fogerlberg's "Run for the Roses," and three versions of "The Boxer": Simon & Garfunkle, Simon & Garfunkle (live), and Emmylou Harris.

Anyway, I present for you inspection and amusement, partial and expurgated and abridged soundtracks for various recent or forthcoming novels. Because I thought it might be fun.


Elvis Costello - ...This Town... (you're nobody in this town until everybody in this town knows you're poison)
John Gorka - Always Going Home (you see he comes from trouble and he's always going home)
Everlast - Blinded By The Sun
Siouxsie & the Banshees - Cities in Dust
Chris Smither - Crocodile Man
Emmylou Harris - Deeper Well
Marianne Faithfull - Desperanto
Mark Knopfler - Devil Baby
The Pogues - Drunken Boat (with the wainscot our horizon and the ceiling as the sky, you'd not expect that anyone would go and fucking die)
Leonard Cohen - Everybody Knows (everybody knows that the war is over. everybody knows that the good guys lost)
the BoDeans - Fadeaway
Psycho Maniak - Deep Shit
Tom Waits - Hoist that Rag (god used me as a hammer, boys, to beat his weary drum today)
Dr. John - I Walk on Guilded Splinters
Dr. John - Jean Gris
Warren Zevon - Lawyers, Guns, & Money
ZZ Top - Pincushion
Shakespeare's Sister - The Trouble With Andre (the trouble with andre is he thinks he fools everyone)
Shriekback -underwaterboys
Richard Thompson - King of Bohemia (did your dreams die young? were they too hard won? did you reach too high and fall?)
Oingo Boingo - Water
Cletus Kelley & Lori Kelley - Undertow
Shivaree - Goodnight Moon (I always sleep with my guns when you're gone.)

Actually, that probably tells you a good deal about the book.


This one breaks out into Michelangelo's songs and "everybody else's songs." because Angelo has a taste for loud rock with waily guitars and lyrics steeped in man-pain, apparently.

Angelo's music includes:

Audioslave - Like a Stone (and I sat in regret for all the things I've done, for all that i've blessed, and all that i've wronged, in dreams until my death)
Breaking Benjamin - So Cold (show me how it ends, it's all right. show me how defenseless you are... that's all right, let's give this another try.)
The Exies - Ugly (are you ugly? a liar like me? a user, a lost soul?)
Papa Roach - Getting Away with Murder
Seether - Remedy (it aches in every bone, i'll die alone, but not for you)

More general stuff:

Emmylou Harris - (most of Red Dirt Girl, really) The Pearl (that is the theme song for this book: It is the heart that kills us in the end, just one more old broken bone that cannot mend -- hell, when I was doing the brainwork for the book, I listened to that song over and over and over again. And it shows.), Michelangelo (of course), I Don't Want To Talk About It Now, Tragedy, Bang the Drum Slowly, Sweet Old World

Fatboy Slim - Weapon of Choice (*so* Vincent's song)
Vienna Teng - Gravity
Kirsty MacColl - Us Amazonians
Sebadoh - Everybody's Been Burned
Sarah MacLachlan - World on Fire
Ani DiFranco - Light of Some Kind
Chess - The Russian and Molokov/Where I Want To Be

...yeah, cheerful book.

Blood & Iron

Shakespeare's Sister - Stay
Iron & Wine - Gray Stables
Three or four version of Tam Lin (Steeleye Span, Fairport, Outgrabe, and some versions of the reel)
Some other Span - Elf-Call, Demon Lover, New York Girls, Elf Knight
Boiled in Lead - She
Tracy Chapman - Almost
Annie Lennox - Walking on Broken Glass
Janis Ian - Between the Lines

Whiskey & Water

Vangelis - Heaven & Hell
Booth & the Bad Angel - Dance of the Bad Angels
Jethro Tull - Kelpie
Steeleye Span - Thomas the Rhymer
Tom Waits - How's it Gonna End?
Tom Waits - All the World is Green
Rufus Wainwright - The Rebel Prince
Tracy Chapman - Crossroads
They Might Be Giants - I Found Out She's An Angel
Melissa Etheridge - The Angels
Cat Power - Werewolf
David Gray - Babylon
Leonard Cohen - By The Rivers Dark
Chris Smither - The Devil's Real
China Crisis - Working with Fire and Steel
Dar Williams - After All
Emmylou Harris - Deeper Well (so Kelpie's song.)
Harry Nilsson - I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City
The Pogues - Fairytale of New York
Steely Dan - The Boston Rag
The Pogues - Whiskey, You're the Devil
Sting - Englishman in New York

Patience & Fortitude

Tracy Chapman - In The Dark
Jethro Tull - First Snow on Brooklyn
John Hiatt - Cry Love
Kate Bush - Lily (Oh, hell yes.)
Ani DiFranco -Shy
Leonard Cohen - Who By Fire
Iron & Wine - Woman King
About ten versions of Famous Blue Raincoat
Incredible String Band - The Dear Old Battlefield
Dorothy Wallace - Where To Now, St. Peter?
Billy Joel - Miami 2071
Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting
Joan Osborne - St. Theresa
Suzanne Vega - Blood Makes Noise
Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party
Damien Rice - Woman Like A Man

The Stratford Man

Pat Benatar - Outlaw Blues (totally Kit)
Jann Arden - Could I be Your Girl?
Apotheosis - O Fortuna (techno)
Dire Straits - Romeo & Juliet
Warren Zevon - My Ride's Here
Marilyn Manson - Tainted Love
REM - Losing My Religion

One-Eyed Jack

Several versions of Viva Las Vegas (Elvis, ZZ Top, Dead Kennedys, and Springsteen)
Steely Dan - Do It Again
Jackson Brown - Casino Nation
Mark Knopfler - Silvertown Blues
John Hammond - Heartattack and Vine
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication
Theme from Secret Agent
Theme from James Bond
Theme from The Man From Uncle
Jimmy Buffet - It's Midnight and I'm Not Famous Yet
John Gorka - Silvertown
Mark Knopfler - The Sands of Nevada
Sheryl Crow - Leaving Las Vegas
Jeffrey Foucault - Secretariat
Lots of Elvis Presley (America the Beautiful Maybelline, A Little Less Conversation, Cold Cold Heart, King of the Road)
John Gorka - All That Hammering
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge
Gino Vanelli - Black Cars
Several--nay, many--versions of "House of the Rising Sun"
Alice Cooper - Desperado
Johnny Cash - Legend of John Henry's Hammer
Tom Waits - Sweet Little Bullet From A Pretty Blue Gun
Mark Knopfler - Back to Tupelo
Emmylou Harris - Boy from Tupelo
Tom Waits - Jocket full of Bourbon
Emmylou Harris - Ooo, Las Vegas
Warren Zevon - Porcelain Monkey
Bruce Springsteen - Prove It All Night
Redbird - Ships


Shriekback - Hammerheads
Boiled in Lead - Army Dream Song
Kate Bush - Army Dreamers
Gordon Lightfoot- Carefree Highway
Grateful Dead - Casey Jones
Kate & Anna McGarrigle - Complainte pour Ste. Catherine
Tom Waits - Earth Died Screaming
Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
Shriekback - Faded Flowers (we had some good machines, but they don't work no more)
The Buggles - Clean Clean
Warren Zevon - I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Janis Ian - On The Other Side
Joan Osborne - If I was Your Man
The Offspring - It'll Be A Long Time
Mr. Mister - Kyrie
Tom Cochran - Life is a Highway
Robert Earl Keen - Not a Drop of Rain
Bruck Cockburn - If I had a Rocket Launcher, Lovers in a Dangerous Time
Queen - '39
Spirit of the West - Home for a Rest
Berlin - The Metro
Shriekback - Go Bang!
Tori Amos - Winter, Spark, Losing My Religion, God, etc. *g*
Oigo Boingo - The Winning Side
John Mellencamp - Brothers, Another Sunny Day 12/25
Midnight Oil - The Dead Heart
Rush - Dreamlines
Pat Benetar - Too Long a Soldier

All the Windwracked Stars, By the Mountain Bound, The Sea thy Mistress

Jethro Tull - Broadsword, This Is Not Love, The Dog-Ear Years, Raising Steam, Beastie, Cold Wind to Valhalla, etc.
Big Country - Eiledon, The Red Fox, The Seer, etc.
Vienna Teng - The Tower
Yes - City of Love
Tom Waits - I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You
Janis Ian - Stars
Covenant - Dead Stars
Les Miserables - Stars
Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah, If It Be Your Will, Coming back To You, Here It Is, That Don't Make It Junk, and many others
Outgrabe - We Like Angels Never Weep
Peter Mulvey - Falling
Sarah McLachlan - Building a Mystery
Phil Ochs - The Crucifixion
Erasure - Am I Right?
Alice Cooper - Blue Turk
Sting - Desert Rose
Dr. John- Shadows
Shriekback - Running on the Rocks, Dust and Shadows, Night Town, The Bastard Sons of Enoch, etc.
Timbuk3 - Sunshine is Dangerous
Oingo Boingo - No Spill Blood
Mississippi John Hurt - You Are My Sunshine
Bruce Cockburn - Pacing the Cage
King Crimson - Starless
Jane Siberry - Half Angel Half Eagel
Cat Power - Metal Heart
Gregg Allman - I'm no Angel
Don Heley - Building the Perfect Beast

There. That was a perfect waste of an evening. *g* And you know. I am really happy right now. It's nice to not be scrambling for six nigh-impossible deadlines.


My brain has been alternating between "Kelpie" and "Whiskey in the Jar" while I read Blood and Iron.

That is, until the debacle of a few minutes ago, as chronicled on my lj.

I'm hoping to get back to "Whiskey in the Jar" soon. (Actually, that popped into my head when I was reading your previous trilogy, too, I think because of the line, "Taking Jenny with me, for I never knew the danger....")
Those are good choices. I listened to "Whiskey, You're tehDevil" a lot, too, oddly enough....
I'm so glad I am not the only one who makes a soundtrack for my stories.
we're all crazy. *g*
The whole time I was reading B & I, I had Icelandic folk music pounding in my ears: Garmana, Hedingarna and so forth.
I listened to Hedingarna by the bucketload while writing W&W. *g*

vaguely off-topic

I started my second read of B&I tonight; man, that shit is deep. Sure, I really liked it the first time, but I might come closer to getting it this time. You have a giant brain.

Re: vaguely off-topic

And it's extra good with ketchup!

(let me know what you think when you are done)
"The Sounding" playlist looks right to me. I well remember the endless rotation. Luckily, they were good songs. :-)
Cool - a few new bands to check out!

I notice you quote the lyrics on some of the songs - is it the lyrics that move you to choose a particular song to write by? I ask, because I generally can't write to anything with comprehensible lyrics, and the more familiar the song, the more I can't write while it's playing.

Because a lot of my stories are set in the past, I tend to listen to music from the period if I can - medieval and swing-era mostly, some classical.
Yes, I usually choose songs that have a lyrical bearing on what I'm writing. And I almost always listen to music with lyrics--I tend to tune out intrumental music, which means that it doesn't have the desired effect of distracting the upper layers of my brain so that the subconscious can get some work done.

I suspect your quirk is more common than mine, as I hear it said a lot.
Just googled to make sure because it's too early in the morning to trust my brain, but Rick Springfield doesn't see m to have ever recorded "Run for the Roses". It's a Dan Fogelberg song.
Of course you're correct. My standard aphasia for proper names persists.
I'm told that some people need a little background noise in order to concentrate. (I certainly do. And a close friend writes only in coffee shops -- and has done so for years. He has a tendency to put on a short loop of tunes too).

Me, I heap on the music. I'm night onto ten years working on the same three books just now, so I've needed variety. I half-quote Leonard Cohen a couple of times. I've got half a dozen soundtrack albums spinning in my .mp3 turntable: Hero, Merchant of Venice, Blackhawk Down, LOTR. There's a heap of medieval stuff ready when that burns out. The Eddas sung by weirdoes. Sea chanties by the shipload. And folk stuff!

Anything to push the din of modernity back. Anything.

Um. And I knew a woman (student of mine) who couldn't stand a sound around her while she worked.

She was mentally ill. [Nodding sagaciously].

for "night" above read "nigh"

I wrote a lot of Solace to Sarah McLachlan and Sting -- most of the slower, more introspective moments. When I needed a kick up the arse for speed and word count, I found that Sarah's Remixed album fitted the bill almost every time -- that, and Duran Duran's Astronaut, Depeche Mode's Playing the Angel (almost as dark as Violator) and also, oddly enough, a bit of The Pet Shop Boys. '80s child ;p

Hmmm, I really should get around to posting the Solace playlist at some point...
yes. you should.