A Life Of Playlists

I’ve spent my entire life making up playlists.

From listening to the radio constantly trying to find the right song in grade school, or making tapes in high school, I’ve been assorting songs ever since I could.

With the advent of iTunes—well, it’s gotten a lot easier to make playlists. The beautiful thing is I’ve got over 17,000 songs to choose from.

So when I started writing The Solitary Tales, the publisher told me about a thing at the back of their books. It’s called “Afterwords” and it features a few things about the book—an author note, some details on the story, or something like a playlist.

Well, with that in mind, and because this was my first foray into writing a teen series (my nod to the beloved John Hughes), I took those playlists seriously.

Very seriously.

So sure, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of those songs that are the soundtrack to The Solitary Tales. At least some readers have enjoyed seeing them. This morning I got a reader note from Brittany, who said “Oh and the playlist at the end, that was magical! The songs go with the book so well, especially ‘Beautiful’ by Ruth Ann. I''ve got it on repeat all night long.”

So let me share a few quotes from a Genesis song that was in the “For The Walkman” playlist in Gravestone.

This will only mean something to those of you who read Solitary.

This song comes off the second cassette I ever bought. Invisible Touch by Genesis. I bought it in tenth grade. For that reason alone it means something to me.

The song is “Domino”.

Knowing what happened to Chris in Solitary, see if these lyrics apply:

“The grey of evening fills the room.
No need to look outside
Oh to see or feel the rain
I reach across to touch her
But I know that she's not there
Rain keeps running down the window pane
Time is running out for me”

Really sums up Chris at the start of the story, right?

It keeps going:

“Can't you see what you are doing to me
Can't you see what you have done
As I try to pass another long and sleepless night
A hundred crazy voices call my name
As I try to pass them by
I can almost believe that she is here
She's in the glow of the night”

Then there is the chorus:

“Do you know what you have done
Do you know what you've begun
Do you see we shall never be together again
All of my life”

I could keep going. Here are bits and pieces:

“Nylon sheets and blankets help to minimise the cold
But they can't keep out the chilling sounds
Will the nightmare soon give way to dreaming
That she is here with me”


“In silence and darkness
We held each other near that night
We prayed it would last forever”

Or how about this gem? This totally could have come right out of Gravestone:

“Blood on the windows
Millions of ordinary people are there
They gaze at the scenery
They act as if it is perfectly clear
Take a look at the mountains
Take a look at the beautiful river of blood”

Yeah, doesn’t sound like the upbeat “Invisible Touch”, huh?

Oh, here’s one last line:

“No there's nothing you can do when you're the next in line
You've got to go Domino”

I almost wrote an entire chapter around this song, but the book was getting a bit big so I decided against it. But you see my point.

These playlists really, truly do go with the story. In fact, for some of you looking for more answers, they actually give you some. ☺

In another life I might have been a radio DJ. But now, I just get to imagine it through the stories I tell.

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