“How many trains have you jumped in your life?”
These nine little words gave me pause. For the past week, I’ve been alternately obsessing, compulsing and nonchalanting. Yeah, I know, I’m adding my own words to the dictionary. I kind of roll that way. Scrabble becomes a new game when I play.
It’s been a restless sort of week. I’ve been blowing hot and cold on a lot of things. One thing I locked on that helped get me back to my normal chaos was my country music roots.
I grew up with the country greats. This week I’m jumping on a familiar train with Cash, Campbell and Cline. As a writer, particularly as a short story one, I love a quick tale with a punch that leaves you breathless. A good song tells a story in the space of a few minutes. A good country song tells the story and leaves you misty-eyed.
I’ve talked about how music effects my writing. Most of my thrillers were written under the influence of hard rock. Avenged Sevenfold, Godsmack, Finger Eleven, and Seether were a few of the bands shaping the words I put on paper. They were heavy, dark and desperate and exactly what I needed for what I was writing.
I still love me some primal music in the form of hard rock. I love the stories good music tells. But, I’m drifting back to the original balladeers from the hills. These folks turned every day events into extraordinary happenings.
My current obsession is with Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman.” It is a timeless human nature story of loneliness and love. With only a few words, Jimmy Webb wrote a powerful story about missing the one you love.
Most of us will leave a mark before we jump our last train. Song writers and singers never really die. Neither do we, the writers of today. I’m glad to be a member of this immortality club because I know that after I’m dust, my words will live forever.
Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch