I’ve written before about my teenage adoration of CREEM – how its humor and attitude soothed my OMG-am-I-the-only-one?! angst and made me laugh until I cried (still does). It wasn’t only about the music, of course, but oh, the music was the beating heart of it.
Now, why is it so difficult to write fiction about music? I realize it’s essentially an experience beyond words, but then, so is smelling a freshly-cut lemon – so are all sense-based experiences – and we seem at least able to approach them literarily, if that’s a word.
But why can I listen to Iggy Pop or Satie (or Iggy Pop and Satie: now there’s a concert I’d pay real money for), be blown away, yet be unable to adequately translate that exhilaration for a reader? Especially in the YA arena, music is not only a soundtrack to everything important, it’s one of the most important things in life, sometimes one of the only things that makes life bearable.
So my question is, not how can I become a better writer-about-music (same way you get to Carnegie Hall), but who out there, especially in YA, is doing it right now? In novels, primarily, but I’d love any pertinent examples.