Writing a memoir, finding memories in music - Book Brand Business
Writing a memoir, finding memories in music

Writing a memoir, finding memories in music

When writing a memoir there are so many ways to find inspiration. The question for me is never what is the point of writing them, it’s always let’s get the memories out and enjoy the process. You can work out where they fit later.

Music is a wonderful way to evoke memories for your memoir, whether that is using music to stimulate or calm you or the piece brings a memory back.

When I am writing, my environment is key. I like silence. I also like writing in bed or the day bed by the terrace where I can gaze at the hills.

There have been times when I have needed or wanted music and I find that these are usually deeply emotional times. The call for music arises and I need for some reason to lose myself in the words. I can often be found crying or at least feeling like crying. I love a film with a happy ending so stories of all kinds get me – every time.

The journey through music to memoir

Music has the power to take you on amazing trips, along lanes, roads, highways and byways to destinations once lived and now forgotten.

As a child, I recall sitting in class and my teacher played music from the Grand Canyon suite, in the far right corner of the room were pictures of the Grand Canyon and we were invited to write stories about what we saw, felt and heard. I don’t know what I wrote, but in that moment I was lost and it became a dream to visit this wondrous place.

One Christmas we went to Las Vegas for a relatives 60th birthday and on Christmas Day I flew over the Grand Canyon in an epic and exhilarating helicopter flight with music blaring.

The music this time was more rock than classic all designed to fire up our emotions and connect us to the movement of the helicopter, the vast ocean of red rock, floors of bobbly green brush and striated skies of turquoise and pale blue.

It was exhilarating and this scared of flying gal begged the pilot to go faster, such was the power of the music.

If I was including this in a memoir, it would probably be cited as an exhilarating but personally hurtful time for me. The person I was with did something I consider to be cruel, but as it turns out a blessing.

When you write memoir how can you weave in moments like this while staying with the essence of your story? These backstory elements provide your reader with insight into how your story was formed.

A journey with your music memoir

In memory everything seems to happen to music. Tennessee Williams

All of us have multi-faceted lives with many crisscrossing journeys and my party days hide my sadness. When I refer to someone’s sex, drug and rock and roll days, I’m normally talking about those days when we feel less connected to who we are. The party and the music help you to lose yourself and hide from reality.

I had the most gorgeous friend and DJ Leroy, who would play my favourite songs – he would know, it was always Wonderland first, then during the night Whole Lotta Rosie, Come Up and See Me and Carwash. Each of these were my dancing songs. I’d be up on the dance floor, with or without a partner.

Sadly Leroy didn’t want to stay on Earth.

At his funeral, which was dreadfully sad they played Imagine. In my memory, he is forever Wonderland and Imagine. I cannot listen to either of those without tears in my eyes.

Silly songs like Haircut One Hundred – Fantastic day remind me of my first husband. He thought it was hilarious to come back into the bedroom to find me lying in bed still but somehow dancing to this.

Even long after I listened endlessly to Elbow, most days I throw the curtains wide whilst singing

“So throw those curtains wide
One day like this a year would see me right
Throw those curtains wide
One day like this a year would see me right”

Making new memories for memoirs to come

Last night I took my mum to see a Dire Straits tribute band. Spanish singers who created an incredible evocative scene with haunting notes had us transfixed for over 2 hours.

I’ve been taking my mum to concerts for just a year. I want to create memories for us both. I want to etch these precious moments and experiences deep into my heart.

Bring the present and past together

As they played I closed my eyes and was back at the NEC in Birmingham seeing them for the first time. It was a time when not a week went by when I wasn’t at a concert or planning to go and see a band. Music was a massive part of my life.

Listening last night makes me feel like my life is missing something because of the desire for silence.

When I trace the disappearance of music from my life, I can see how it had been shut down and switched off by another. This part of my life is something I am writing about and last night has woken a memory for me to explore in my personal memoir.

That’s what music does.

If you are looking for inspiration for your memoir or want to be taken back to another time period in whatever book you are writing, compile a play list, get up and dance, scribble down whatever words come into your head, have fun, laugh, cry, scream,  but most of all capture what it was like to be you then.  Please do share your golden musical memories with us.

Be inspired, have a beautiful day and capture your memories.

Dale Darley

Dale lives in the hills in Spain with her three furry writing muses. She works with her clients to support them to plan and write a book, build their brand and create a business that they love.

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