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Music and Muse #3: Guest author/editor Rhonda Parrish

Woodland Press's new anthology Stories from the Hearth: Heartwarming Tales of Appalachia features my story, "Drumbeats." My story draws on the Cherokee mythology of the Little People, who love music and offer aid to the lost.

Music can offer inspiration and aid to lost writers, too. Therefore, I invited several authors to guest blog on the subject of music and writing. This third post in the Music and Muse series is from author and editor of Niteblade Magazine, Rhonda Parrish.

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I had a whole blog post written about music, managing distractions and writerly OCD, but, well, it was boring. Now I'm starting all over again with a brand new topic and hoping Beth doesn't want to shoot me for sending her a guest post about something other than what we'd originally agreed (she's awesome, she'll forgive me).

Music is both universal and intensely personal, both in its creation (I imagine) and the experience of it. Universality being what it is you know all about it and don't need me to preach at you, so I'll ask you to indulge me as I share a little bit of my personal experiences with music.

I am not a good singer (but I do it anyway) and I can't dance or play an instrument, but music has played a pretty major role in my life. I've always been surrounded by it, in part because it is very important to my other. There was always music in our home. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of myself when I was 3 or 4 accompanying the Beach Boys on a microphone that plugged into my Mom's record player.

Growing up I spent a lot of time in cars with my parents and siblings (it was an hour drive to school and back again each day, for example) singing along to music. Mom listened to everything from Johnny Horton, to Pam Tillis to Smashing Pumpkins. Queen, The Cars and Electric Light Orchestra were the kind of cassettes (I'm showing my age here, aren't I?) favoured by my (step)father.

In grade seven I had a crush on a boy who loved Guns and Roses so I started listening to them. My crush on the boy evolved into a platonic friendship but my love for Appetite For Destruction remains strong. And though G&R were considered heavy metal back then, my brothers both teased me for liking musical lightweights compared to their favourite groups like Venom, Slayer and Megadeth. I grew to enjoy them too, but never became as big a fan as my brothers.

My point is that I grew up exposed to a lot of different types of music and, to varying degrees, I learned to enjoy all of them. I think the main reason is that at their heart songs are stories and I have a deep and abiding love of stories.

Ever listen to Taylor Swift? Each one of her songs is a YA story. Looking for something darker? Check out King Diamond's album Them. Want a trucker tale? Red Sovine is the guy for you.

As for me, well, you won't catch me at the mic in a karaoke bar in this lifetime, but if we're ever in the same car you may be subjected to my off-key singing along to the radio. If it helps you can think of it as me joining in on the telling of a story.

Rhonda Parrish is an author, poet, and editor of Niteblade Magazine. Her personal site is http://www.rhondaparrish.com/.


Other author posts in the Music & Muse series:
#1: Clare Revell
#2:Kevin Hearne
Tags: music and muse, niteblade, rhonda parrish
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