R.B. totally impressed us with his short story, Thanksgiving in the Park, and we couldn’t wait to get the inside scoop on our first-ever male contributor! We sat down with R.B. as he revealed his taste in music and what inspired him to write his winning contribution for this year’s anthology, OFF BEAT: Nine Spins on Song.
- What about music inspires you/touches you the most? The melody, the lyrics or both? What do you listen to while writing? I’m an eclectic music lover—it’s all dictated by mood. If I’m sad, I listen to Chopin. If I’m happy, Lady Gaga. Or ABBA. Pissed off, well that’s when Ozzie or Metallica comes out. Melody drives me most days, but I can stop to listen to the poetry of Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell. When I write, it’s all orchestral pieces. The only words I want to hear are the ones straining to make their way onto the page.
- How has your taste in music changed over the years? If not, what makes you loyal to the same artists’ years later? What attracts you to new artists? Oh lord…so much change! I think about the 80’s and my obsession with Huey Lewis (Who is still great, by the way) and shudder a little. The 80’s were a weird time…and once I began to expand beyond bubblegum pop there was an epiphany of sorts. My collect is more diverse today then it ever was growing up. Of course in the age of Spotify and Pandora, how could it not be? I still have memories of trying to catch my favorite tunes on cassette from the radio back in the day. Good times.
- What other songs did you consider before making a final choice for OFF BEAT? Did they have similar messages? What made you choose the one you did over the others? I knew, once I saw the prompt for Off Beat, that I would be writing a story based on November Rain. It just fit the mood of the day…and I’d been tinkering with a story inspired by that song for a long time. I was determined to finish it this time.
- How would you compare your writing to the musicians that you listen to? Do you have similar messages or ways at looking at life, tragedy, love? Really good question. I mentioned Gaga above because I adore her talent and the craziness of her performances. It drives my children (20 and 16) a little nuts that I’m more of a rabid fan then they are. But I like to try and bring my writing into a similar world that Lady Gaga operates in…poignant words, fun, sometimes dark, sometimes crazy with a few over the top spices thrown in. Keeps the dark from getting too dark, know what I mean? Power ballads (like November Rain) are stories…magical words set to music. I would love my writing to be a combination of both—the power with the outrageous. And don’t worry…no meat suits in my future!
- If you were asked to write another short story version of the same song, but in a different genre, what would it be and why? I think I would make it darker—more Southern Gothic. Picture a Louisiana graveyard—hundreds of coffin-sized mausoleums, while a man huddles in the rain as he watches his wife laid to rest from a distance… why from a distance? What happened between them? Could be interesting…
THANK YOU R.B. for stopping by Wicked Ink Books and sharing your tastes in music with us! For more info on R.B., check out his website at www.rbwood.com