Land of a Thousand Dance Moves

When GMR was out of town, I decided to clean the house so only my mess would be there and not his…huhn. But before I picked up rag, vacuum, sponge, I slipped into the player a mix of CD’s labeled “Fun Music.” It’s an eclectic blend that GMR doesn’t enjoy so much—he loves his jazz and even sometimes “show tunes,” and the like, and I like some of that (and not some of that), but there are times I am bored with Jazz, bored of what I also deem as the “Elevator Music” he listens to in the car when he’s not listening to jazz. My main requirement for the music’s enjoyment, which GMR does not enjoy, is to play it very loud. How else can I experience it properly? It’s the same way in my car or when I am running on the treadmill—I must turn it up to obtain maximum pleasure from all the thumps and fwumps the music offers. The beat has to pulse in my veins so the blood is racing willy nilly, make my marrow boil, cause my bones to rattle, jitter my ear drums.

I push “Random.” And Wait! The first song happens to be one of my all time favorites: Wilson Pickett’s “Land of a Thousand Dances.” I’ve told GMR when I die, go head and play that song so that my ghost will feel happy. One simply cannot be still when Thousand Dances is playing. I shake, I shimmy, I rotate, I want to watusi, alligator, and mash potato as the song instructs, but I don’t know what those dances are (and I vow right then and there to learn those moves). I do my own wild jittery dance, laughing to beat the band, “Na na-na-na-na na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na na-na-na-na.”

Once Dances is over, I begin my wiping and dusting…until! Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” blares from the speakers. Well, how can any woman clean house during Respect? It’s just too too . . . ironic! I pretend I am in a karaoke bar with an audience. I point, I pose, I sing out: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to me, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Take care, TCB,” and then I gyrate to, “Oh, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me.”

And then it’s back to cleaning. La la la tee dah (and why on commercials is it always the woman cleaning up and doing the laundry? Even when the guy makes the mess? It’s 2010, y’all! Still, commercials use the woman – – well, GMR cooks, cleans, and does his own laundry, so commercial land, what’s up with that? huhn, just saying!).

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy shouts “King of Swing!” right as I’m about to vacuum. Well, one can’t vacuum during Big Bad Voodoo Daddy—“When you feel your bones a shakin, and your temperature is risen… .” I do a quieter, but no less energetic, cleaning job until one of my least favorite songs comes on—it is a woman’s strange rendition of “Girl from Ipanema,” except she’s singing it as “the Boy from Ipanema” . . . bleah . . . it doesn’t have the same charm–time to vacuum to drown out her voice.

The music helps the time go by swiftly when I’m cleaning, driving, running, or maybe just goofing off.

In fact, the very first introductory lines to TG came from listening to Angels of Venice’s “Lionheart” while driving with a “Natural Wonders” CD blasting. I could picture VK riding up her mountain, hair flying, hooves thundering; I saw her jump of Fionadala’s back, holding her momma’s ashes; saw her turn turn turn spilling the ashes . . . It was such a concrete real beautiful image, those words formed and I added them to the manuscript almost as a P.S. right before mailing off the query that brought my contract with Bellebooks.

Music has inspired me many times in my writing life, even if I can’t or don’t listen to it while writing. But cleaning house: yeah. Driving: definitely. Running: a must.

I bow to you Musicians: thank you all—I blow to you a kiss, a shimmy, a bust-a-hip move…Watch me work, now!

What’s music for you?
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(Jacqueline Cook’s SUNRISE is still available for give away – see post below. I do like to support other authors and their works, even outside of my genre. This is a Bellebooks author and of course I want to support my publisher’s authors! I’ll keep it on give away one more day and then if no one claims it, I’ll donate it to the library.)

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