All I Need is a Miracle

Born in 1970, I am firmly in Generation X, and the 1980s were the years in which I largely became the person I was until 2012.  (Long story:  Buy a copy of my memoir when I finish writing it and it’s released upon the world. 🙂 )

I began writing in earnest in 1980, as a homesick ten-year-old, and became more and more prolific as the years ticked by.  In those days, music was a huge part of my creative process, whether I knew it or not.  Songs would set something off inside my head, and I’d be off and writing.

Somewhere along the way (likely around 2012) I forgot about that.

This afternoon I was thinking of something I would like to do, but the finances just aren’t there.  I chuckled and said to myself, “All I need is a miracle,” and suddenly the song by Mike + The Mechanics was in my head.

All at once I remembered the short story project I had done in the summer of 1986, when I’d bought that album.  Each song on the album had inspired, in parts big or small, a matching short story with the same title.  I called it a “literary album,” and I really enjoyed it.  I had done something similar with a-ha’s Hunting High and Low the previous spring.

Writing this memoir has been really hard work, for so many reasons.  First of all, I primarily write short stories, so a book-length manuscript feels daunting.  Secondly, I am not that experienced with writing nonfiction, so pulling together all of the material and organizing it before I even start writing feels like a lot of “hurry up and wait.”  And then there’s the topic itself.  Relieving what was easily the most difficult period of my life is, well, difficult.  But it’s important that it be written, not just for me but for other who find themselves in a similar position, and so I’m not giving up on it.

But I need to remember what it was like to write for fun.

So I am sitting here listening to Mike + The Mechanics, remembering the characters in my short stories from when I was sixteen.

I think I will take myself on a little trip in a musical time machine, and see what a song can bring out of me in the next couple of days.

Just for fun.

My Duran Duran collection will probably be the well from which I draw.  You could say I’ve been a fan for a very long time.

Photograph of the Writer; Christmas 1984.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Challenge

You can view other writers’ contributions via the comments here.

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Karen J. McLean

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  • I love this song and immediately tuned it in my brain and started singing the chorus…
    I like the idea of the project you shared. And Duran Duran! Okay, totally going back in time. Thank you for bringing those memories back. Good luck on your manuscript!

    • Thank you so much, Alice! It IS a catchy tune, isn’t it? And I love how music and lyrics can fuel the writing machine within us. My machine needs a little “get up and go” these days, and I thought maybe others could use it too. Let me know how you make out! 🙂

  • I have always thought that food, smells, and songs are huge memory attachers! I love your idea of a literary album with story titles created from the songs! Keep working on that memoir!

  • I saw your title and the song started in my head before I read your post. You can do hard things! Let the music take you. I love reading your writing.

    • Thank you so much, Heather! Yes, we can do hard things! I just need to get it into my head that I don’t have to do hard writing 24/7 in order to consider myself NAF (Not A Failure — I just made that up, so hopefully it’s not some horrible acronym in another context). I’m getting there, but wow — those old thoughts are hard to budge sometimes!

  • Music is such a powerful thing. I’m one of those people who says it’s hard for me to memorize things, but cue up a song from decades ago and I’m singing along as if I had the lyrics in my hand. I’m intrigued by your literary album project(s) — that sounds so cool. Thanks for including the pictures; the Christmas of ’84 was a good year!

    • I think we remember music so well because it literally becomes a part of us; it settles into our souls.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I got a kick out of including the young Duranie!