The main character in my novel, The Quarry’s Child, Meg Riley, has eclectic tastes in music. Her iPod, iPhone and iPad contain a wide variety of tunes. As a child of the 1970s, Meg’s musical foundation lies in Classic Rock. Some of her favorites include: “Hotel California,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sufragette City,” and almost any Elton John tune. True to her era, Meg has fond memories of slow dances to songs like: “Color My World,” “Stairway to Heaven,” and “Wonderful Tonight.”
Thanks to her career in the Coast Guard and never living in one place for more than a few years, Meg was able to embrace the identity of a parrot head. She and some of her fellow female officers made earrings that looked like cheeseburgers, donned Hawaiian shirts, consumed many tropical drinks and sang along with Jimmy Buffett at many concerts around the United States. All-time favorites are “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” “Volcano,” “Fins,” and “Stars Fell on Alabama.” One can see Meg travels easily between up-tempo and ballads.
But interspersed throughout her collection are military marches (“Stars and Stripes Forever” is a favorite), classical music (Meg favors Beethoven but loves the “1812 Overture”), anything by Glenn Miller (especially “String of Pearls”), some rap and hip-hop selections (“No Love” by Eminem), and various contemporary songs (“Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson, “If I Run” by the Harters, “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keyes) and many others.
Because Meg is a woman of great strength, she favors strong music. But she is also very sensitive, hence the ballads. At all times, Meg likes music with meaning; after all, songs are poetry set to tunes. And Meg loves words and language.
Just yesterday during her morning exercise swim, Meg realized Frank Sinatra’s version of “The Summer Wind” was flitting through her mind. In fact, her stroke cadence went perfectly with it and she accomplished her swim in good time. Part of the reason she thought of that particular song is that she noticed the subtle changes around the lake…of summer sliding into autumn. Any song with a romantic bent (It lingers there, to touch your hair and walk with me”) causes her to feel nostalgic and sad. It’s too symbolic of her many failed relationships and her longing for romance. But once bitten and twice shy, Meg long ago resolved not to let another man ruin her life.
Last night Meg listened to “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger. Once a song that evoked upsetting memories (it was “their” song), she found herself enjoying it anew and thinking about Hugh Doherty, the State Police investigator who has the lead role in the area’s murder case. But there are other songs associated with relationships that Meg isn’t yet willing to relinquish. One that stands alone is “You Needed Me” by Anne Murray. Meg still can’t listen to that song, but that’s a story for another time…
For now it’s time for lunch and “Free Bird.”