One of my favorite things to do when directing a play is to put together the soundtrack, and sometimes when writing I will try to manipulate how I write by what music I select for the background (or don't select -- silence has its own effect).

Thus, I was immediately interested in the new "soundtrack to your life" meme that Gwenda Bond and Elizabeth Bear did. For fun, I put iTunes on shuffle and looked at what the songs would correspond to. I didn't intend originally to write about it here, but the songs that came up created a strange sort of narrative, with some spooky syncronicity, and I immediately began trying to think of a story to build from most of them. I'll probably try to write the story, so am recording here the initial impulse...

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening Credits:
"Oliver Cromwell" by Monty Python
The most interesting thing about King Charles the first is that he was 5 foot 6 inches tall at the start of his reign, but only 4 foot 8 at the end of it....because of....

Waking Up:
"So Come Back, I Am Waiting" by Okkervil River
And there’s plenty of ways to claim his crimes tonight,
and there’s plenty of things to do on his dime.
And there’s plenty of ways to wear his hide tonight.

You’ve got yours and I’ve got mine.
You’ve got yours and I’ve got mine.
So why
did you flee?
Don’t you know you can’t leave his control
only call all his wild works your own?
So come back and we’ll take them all on.
So come back to your life on the lam.
So come back to your old black sheep man.

First Day at School:
"Evening Song" by Philip Glass, from Satyagraha [no lyrics]

Falling in Love:
"I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" from O Brother Where Art Thou?
I am a man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my day.

Fight Song:
"So Fast, So Numb" by R.E.M.
listen. this is now. this is here.
this is me. this is what I wanted
you to see.
that was then. that was that.
that is gone. that is past.
you cast yourself, cast.
passed by, thrown down fast. you say.

you say that
you hate it.
but you want to recreate it.

Breaking Up:
"Gold Dust" by Tori Amos
How did it go so fast
you'll say
as we are looking
and then we'll
we held gold dust
in our

"Divertimento for Strings" by Bela Bartok [no lyrics]

Life is Good
"Estate Sale" by Eels
Man: "These are the sounds of the days that are past."

Woman: "A miracle was about to happen."

Mental Breakdown:
"Poor Ditching Boy" by Richard Thompson
Was there ever a winter so cold and so sad
The river too weary to flood
The storming wind cut through to my skin
But she cut through to my blood

"Hold On, Hold On" by Neko Case
Compared to some I've been around
But I really tried so hard
That echo chorus lied to me with its
"Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on"

"Play Dead" by Bjork
I play dead,
and the hurting stops.
It's sometimes just like sleeping,
curling up inside my private tortures.

Getting Back Together:
"Crazy Man Michael" by Natalie Merchant
Michael he whistles
The simplest of tunes
As he asks of the wild woods
Their pardon
But his true love has flown
Into every flower grown
And he must be keeper
Of the garden

"Don't Explain" by Billie Holiday
Hush now, don't explain
Just say you'll remain
I'm glad you're back, don't explain

Paying the Dues
"Paranoid Android" by Radiohead
Please could you stop the noise, I'm trying to get some rest
From all the unborn chicken voices in my head

The Night Before the War
"Happy" by The Frames
Come help me out I'm sick from the fight
from inserting a laugh where there's none
show me where this joke got tired

Final Battle
"Ruby's Arms" by Tom Waits
I'll feel my way down the darkened hall,
and out into the morning
the hobos at the freightyards
have kept their fires burning
so jesus christ this goddamn rain
will someone put me on a train
I'll never kiss your lips again
or break your heart

Moment of Triumph
"Police on My Back" by The Clash
I'm running down the railway track
Could you help me? Police on my back
They will catch me if I dare drop back
they will kill me for the speed I lack

Death Scene
"Hell Yeah" by Ani DiFranco
Life is a b movie
It's stupid and it's strange
A directionless story
And the dialouge is lame
But in the he-said/she-said
Sometimes there's some poetry
If you turn your back long enough
And let it happen naturally

Funeral Song
"Coin-Operated Boy" by Dresden Dolls
coin-operated boy
sitting on the shelf
he is just a toy
but i turn him on
and he comes to life
automatic joy
that is why i want
a coin-operated boy
made of plastic and elastic
he is rugged and long-lasting
who could ever ever ask for more
love without complications galore
many shapes and weights to choose from
i will never leave my bedroom
i will never cry at night again
wrap my arms around him and pretend

End Credits
"Angels of Deception" by The The
Down by the river, I've been washing out my mouth,
'cuz deep in the heart of me
there's a frightened man breaking out.
Oh I was just looking for paradise
anywhere in this world
While they're gunning for heaven--
from this man made hell!

I doubt I'll stick with the exact circumstances of the sections (prom?!) for the story, but I'll definitely keep the order of songs and see what happens. If it seems to be going well and worth sharing, I'll post fragments here.

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