Sunday, March 7, 2010

Off Key

Gabriella Herkert
Catnapped and Doggone

Does music influence my work? Well, I’m pretty sure Catnapped the Opera isn’t coming to a play house near you any time soon. Then again there was that Christmas CD with cat’s screeching out the lyrics to classic carols and I think it did pretty well commercially. And the whale songs. I think they earned out their advance as well. All the krill they can eat, and man can they eat. But I digress. Does music influence me?

I should just say it quickly – like pulling off a band-aid. I am not a musical person. By that, I am not limiting myself to I shouldn’t sing even in the shower. I shouldn’t. Admitting the music thing is like telling people I don’t eat bananas. It just seems so un-American somehow. Worse, uncool. But it’s true. Yes, my name is Gabi and I am not addicted to music.

We didn’t do music in my house growing up except for the occasional big band on the record player day when my parents had a wild hair. In the car, it was strictly muzak and let’s just thank whatever musical gods are out there that it didn’t stick. As a complete aside, why would I tune to a station to hear bad singers sing a song I like when a mere turn of the dial gives me the real deal for free? As a lawyer, I now appreciate that it is about royalties and money and a whole bunch of pragmatic issues that are TOTALLY unrelated to art and its relative merit. We sang songs around the campfire with the Girl Scouts. Good thing that didn’t seep into my writer’s consciousness. Then again, Kenny Loggins had a big hit with The House at Pooh Corner and I remember that tune being a ‘smore time favorite. I went to military school where music, radios, CD players, boom boxes (I’m old. Don’t do the math) were verboten for the first year. I was seventeen. It’s the age where music, even if I hadn’t had much exposure while my parents controlled the tuner, should have taken root. What did I have? Silence. Cadence calling. Upperclassmen yelling. Nothing musical about any of that and it was the same period where writing became an unavoidable, necessary part of the fabric of my life.

I can fake it, of course. I write fiction. I can tell the musical lie in C sharp when warranted. I can even walk the walk. I own multiple iPods which make me appear to the casual observer as someone who is, frankly, in touch with a highly personal, revealing, pop cultural reference tool. I’m probably listening to a book on “tape.” Sometimes, I’m practicing my French. Or “researching” with an Anderson Cooper podcast or Oxford University Shakespeare lecture. I look like the billboards. Buds in ears, lips moving, maybe even dancing (I’m actually just clumsy never learned to conjugate foreign language verbs and walk simultaneously).

Last year, I gave a friend of mine a book entitled “This is Your Brain on Music,” for Christmas. He’s into all of it. He’s confounded by both my negligible interest in the subject and complete lack of any relevant information which should have been obtained through osmosis if nowhere else. I have no defense. I admit it. I think Beatles are species in the classification Coleoptera and Rolling Stones gather no moss. And I lip-synch Happy Birthday. Andrew Lloyd Webber can rest easy.

Thanks for reading and not asking me to join in on the chorus.



sarahjayne smythe said...

Great post; great blog. I'm here following you from Southern City Mysteries. :)

Gabi said...

Thanks for reading Sara. I hadn't heard of Southern City Mysteries but now I'm off to google you and find out all about it.

Michael Wiley said...

When Catnapped the Opera hits the stage, I'll be in the front row, Gabi.

Gabi said...

If we hand ear plugs out with the program and provide seat-side bar service...maybe. Worth it to hear you hum along.

Shane Gericke said...

But what about the dogs that bark the Christmas carols. Or did you forget those on purpose ...

And I'll gladly join Michael in front row seats at Catnapped, the Opera. Can you comp those for us, Gabi?