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“I Want To Write About Music”

“I Want To Write About Music”

The thing about turning points is that they’re often hard to recognize in the moment. One minute you’re just stumbling along like usual, trying to keep the ball moving forward, the next you find that you’ve turned down a path whose end you cannot see. In March 1996, the editor of a new local start-up arts and entertainment magazine shot me an e-mail asking if I’d like to write for them. I answered his next question—“What do you want to write about?”—with no forethought, going on pure instinct and the truth I felt inside, much like the best of the work I’ve done since. “Music,” I said. “I want to write about music.”

The story of my journey to that moment—the culmination of three decades as an aspiring writer fascinated by and devoted to music—is told in the first chapter of My Heart Sings The Harmony (“My Musical Life”), and the story of my journey since is told in the chapters that follow. That drive, to not just listen to music but engage with it and the people who make it, also speaks directly to the question you might be asking yourself, that I’ve asked myself more than once these past many months: “The next book isn’t another novel?”

Well… no.

There will be a sequel to Believe in Me, rest assured, but in the meantime, this next move feels as natural as natural can be. Believe in Me is a novel about a troubled young writer who runs away with a rock band, throwing himself headlong into the world formerly populated by the father he’s just lost. But it’s also a story that explores one of the same core themes as My Heart Sings The Harmony: how we relate to and experience and are changed by music. How a song may confront or inspire or sadden or uplift us. How a lyric sometimes expresses the things we can’t, or forces us to feel the things we’ve tried to avoid feeling. How we can get lost in the music, and thereby find ourselves.

So, yeah: I want to write about music.

Over the next several weeks we’ll be digging further into the particulars of My Heart Sings the Harmony, both here and in the occasional e-mail newsletter that’s currently in the works (please sign up below). For starters, though, here are a couple of appetizers:

  • a publication date (March 21), and
  • what you might call the Twitter version of the entire book—a word cloud of the completed manuscript*.

See you again soon.

*Courtesy of

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