So if I ever do have a release party for one of my books, I’ll probably just play Haydn’s Sun Quartets on repeat in the background; it’s easier to talk over classical music (and that’s what they did in the eighteenth century). But naturally I do have a playlist of more modern music that reminds me of things in the books, for private enjoyment.
Some of it is fairly straightforward thematic stuff about time, like Nnenna Freelon’s nice jazzy version of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” Fairport Convention’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” and of course “As Time Goes By,” as well as numbers possibly more plot-related such as U2’s “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.” Since water is also a theme, I’ve got songs in there like Florence + The Machine’s “Never Let Me Go,” Chanticleer’s gorgeous take on “Washing of the Water,” and Randall Williams’ “Fair Winds and Following Seas.” And of course there’s “Jump (For My Love)” by the Pointer Sisters.
But the reason this is my playlist is that it’s full of private jokes, or at least jokes that will remain private to me and a few other people until all the books are published. Those of you who’ve read Time for Tea can guess (from the title, since there’s little relevance otherwise) why I included Laura Marling’s “Goodbye England (Covered in Snow),” and I think Time and Fevers will explain the presence of Fats Waller’s “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie” and the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” as well as (a song that I somehow feel must be getting a lot of airtime this week) the Beatles’ “Back in the USSR.” Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” is in the mix because I feel sure I once read that it was dedicated to patron of music St. Cecilia and her fickle favors (if not, it’s a good story), and Olivia’s birthday is St. Cecilia’s Day. The Indigo Girls’ “History of Us” is oddly congruent with Time Goes By (while their “Peace Tonight” amuses me for other reasons), and Tori Amos’s “A Sorta Fairytale” will be explained in Not Time’s Fool. And we also needed “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” (Freelon, again), and at least one Frank Sinatra song (“Love is Here to Stay” seemed appropriate).
There are, so far, 74 songs in this playlist, and they all make me smile, which is enough reason to have put it together. If tomorrow wasn’t such a long time, I’d be sharing the jokes now! But then I may need a place to hide away, and believe in yesterday, when I couldn’t have tea, in the Sahara, with you.