Tag Archives: a fragile truce

With or Without You

This is my favourite of U2’s songs, first released in 1987. Though many interpretations exist for the song’s lyrics, it was apparently inspired by Bono’s conflicting feelings about his duo life — as a rock star and as a regular man. I also love the Canadian connection of this song, co-produced by Daniel Lanois (with Brian Eno).

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I’ll wait for you

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you

Oddly, I did not learn about this song at its peak. A few months following its release, I was in Hong Kong on a journey that would last almost two years through Asia and Europe. In Asia, western hit songs only typically grace the airwaves years after its popularity has waned, if at all. Though music was always important (I travelled with my Sony Walkman), I had resolved to listen only to the cassettes I brought with me and the music of the country where I visited.

Through the storm, we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I’m waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you, 
I can’t live with or without you

The unique version of this song is an instrumental mashup featuring the trio, Simply Three, classically trained string musicians and the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic. They’ve combined “With or Without You” with “Montagues and Capulets,” a classical piece by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Ill-fated lovers.

It’s a theme that is explored over and over again in my writing, and one for contemplation by my main character, Kate Hampton.

My hands are tied, my body bruised
She got me with nothing to win
And nothing left to lose

With or without you
With or without you, 
I can’t live with or without you

If you’ve read Stranger at Sunset, you will know Kate doesn’t get everything she wants. How this resolves as her story progresses is what I’m writing now.

Living “with or without you” is also reflected in her relationship with her father—two people related by blood, yet with so such animosity toward each other.

In A Fragile Truce, many of the questions surrounding her contentious relationship with her father will be answered.

I hope you enjoy this moving piece of music. Wishing you a wonderful week,

~eden

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Cigarettes After Sex

I’ve never been a smoker.

The one and only time I put a cigarette between my lips was more than forty years ago. My best friend’s father smoked, so we stole one of his cigarettes and stood over the kitchen sink to try it. I’m not sure why we decided to do it there.

In case we vomited?

Possibly.

To drop the ashes down the drain?

Well … we never got that far.

After one long, enthusiastic inhale, I knew smoking was not for me.

The burning in my throat.

The coughing.

The tears.

YUCK! Smoking never tempted me again.

But though cigarettes are no longer en vogue, I do love the visual metaphor of two people smoking in bed. It’s a familiar image we’ve seen represented in film. It speaks to lovemaking, romance, and eroticism. The cigarette seduces without subjecting the viewer to its harmful effects, which brings me to this week’s music choice.

Got the music in you baby
Tell me why
Got the music in you baby
Tell me why
You’ve been locked in here forever and you just can’t say goodbye

Cigarettes After Sex is a four-person band out of Brooklyn. With their minimalist black-and-white artwork, slow-paced melodies, and tender vocals, their songs make me want to crawl into bed and drift into a hazy daydream.

Your lips
My lips
Apocalypse
Your lips
My lips
Apocalypse

I chose Cigarettes After Sex’s song, “Apocalypse” for its sweet and sentimental lyrics. In Stranger at Sunset, protagonist Kate Hampton is missing someone she first met in Jamaica. As circumstances dictate their fate, there is much left unsaid between them. This sense of absence follows her to A Fragile Truce, the book I’m writing now.

Go and sneak us through the rivers flood is rising up on your knees
Oh please
Come out and haunt me
I know you want me
Come out and haunt me

To portray Kate’s feelings, I thought of choosing oldies like “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones or “Missing You” by John Waite. I love both these songs because they express the sentiment of missing someone, and yet, the lyrics were too familiar. They had lost their emotional impact for me.

Got the music in you baby
Tell me why
Got the music in you baby
Tell me why
You’ve been locked in here forever and you just can’t say goodbye
You’ve been locked in here forever and you just can’t say goodbye

The coda of “Apocalypse” captures the hardship of separation and loss beautifully, for as difficult as saying “goodbye” can be, not being able to say goodbye is … apocalyptic.

Oh
When you’re all alone
I will reach for you
When you’re feeling low
I will be there too

Wishing you a warm, inspired week. May none of us experience anything apocalyptic, unless it’s great sex of course. 😉

~eden

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Benediction

My first blog of the year begins with a prayer, but not a religious one.

Instead, it’s a song I’ve been meditating on for the past few weeks. 

I first heard “Benediction” at my yoga studio. It played toward the end of a 75-minute class with Farley, one of the many wonderful instructors at Union Yoga. By the time the song ended, we were ready for the final resting pose. 

As I lay on my back, tears streamed down my face. It was hot yoga; I was already wet and sweaty, so I didn’t care. 

I was as emotionally raw as the music.

As someone who is attuned to lyrics, I tried desperately to remember a short phrase from the song.

Is it war if you fight it?
Is it love when you don’t?
There is more when you let go
Of the fear that you can’t

I made a mental note to Google a line or two when I returned home to find the song title—three successive words would have likely accomplished it, but I couldn’t even retain that. The melody haunted me until I finally asked Farley about it at one of his classes. I relayed to him the quality of the singer’s voice and the gut-wrenching lyrics I could not remember.

Not much to go on, but we were optimistic the mystery would be solved by the end of his class … unfortunately not.

He must’ve changed the soundtrack that day.

As we burn in the fire
Slowly learning to breathe
Just keep calm in the falling
Always looking for an underneath

Just before the end of 2017, Farley kindly sent me his playlist as I had requested. Of the fourteen songs he provided, “Benediction” by Luke Sital-Singh was the last one I played, even though it was not the last one on the list.

Why?

Because all along, I was convinced it was a female voice I heard. I could not be more wrong.

It just goes to show the power of an intense yoga class to alter my senses!

This brings me to the new purpose for my music blogs this year. They will continue to showcase good tunes, but there will be an added objective—to highlight the connection of the song to my upcoming books, more specifically, to its main character Kate Hampton. I will also include passages of lyrics if they are meaningful to her story.

Imagine it’s a warning sign
I don’t wanna lose more time
Darling, don’t you close your eyes
Keep listening – are you listening?
I’m sorry we don’t have forever
Ooh… but come die with me

A Fragile Truce is book two in my trilogy which started with Stranger at Sunset. It’s the book I’ve been working on for some time.

Whether you’ve read Stranger at Sunset or not, you will acquire insight into Kate Hampton’s character by following my music blogs. Close friends and authors whom I trust know I’ve struggled with her story for various reasons. My song choices hint at her life because they bring me closer to her.

Some writers of fiction will relate to this strange relationship with their main characters. Though Kate is the product of my imagination, she lives inside my head and needs nurturing. She may embody the best qualities of a woman—sexy, intelligent, strong, and compassionate, but … she is also tragic, unpredictable, and duplicitous.

My Music Monday posts will focus on specific aspects of Kate, and you can find these clues in the lyrics, the song’s mood, or even by watching the video. They are all inspiring me to write her story.

I’ve already chosen the soundtrack for the entire year, so I hope you will join me in this writing journey.

In the meantime, close your eyes and listen to “Benediction.”

Perhaps you will shed a tear as well.

~eden

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