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Showing posts from February, 2016

Opium and The Butterscotch Prince

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A few months ago, I met my friend Brenda for lunch—we’ve been friends since my sophomore year of college—we don’t see each other often but when we do, we simply pick up our friendship, our conversation, where we last left off. After that lunch, I walked her back to her car and hugged her as is my habit. Later, she emailed me, “You know,” she wrote, “After I left, I realized I could smell you and I realized you smell exactly the same.” It was then that I remembered I’ve been wearing the same scent, Cartier’s Santos for decades. It seemed to me she took comfort in that familiarity, that sameness.
Years ago when Toby, our silky terrier, had to be in the hospital over a few days, the attending vet suggested we bring in one of my worn t-shirts to comfort and calm him. Now, years later, on the rare occasions I must be away overnight for work, I leave the t-shirt I slept in the night before for Toby. Otherwise he sits by the kitchen door all night waiting for me to come home.
If you read la…

This Writer’s Life: The Soundtrack

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The death last week of Maurice White, who founded Earth,Wind and Fire, made me, like a lot of people sad. The music of Earth, Wind and Fire marked the beginning of my journey to adulthood. Their music is also inextricably tied to my relationship with my freshman roommate Yone, the first friend I ever had. For me, listening as radio stations played their songs back-to-back was more than a tribute to Maurice White, or a celebration of their musical canon. I was listening to part of the soundtrack of my life. This realization got me thinking about the role of music in my life and writing.
In my books, I use music—to locate the story firmly in time, or to express something about the characters, or their emotion or mood. In What Binds Us, the signature song for Matthew and Thomas-Edward is Randy Crawford’s “Where There was Darkness,” which describes the gratitude they feel for having, unexpectedly found each other; the song’s lyrics express what they cannot yet articulate to each other and …