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Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Musical Treasure (To Write To)

Earlier this year, I got a copy of the album Celtic Treasure, the latest from musician Hayley Westenra. My first thought, when I saw the song title “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme,” was anyone who covers Paul Simon can’t be bad.

It was around St. Patrick’s Day, as I remember it, and I first put the disk in my car while I was taking my daughter to fencing lessons. The rain pelted the windshield. Then Hayley’s voice flooded my ears.

Hayley Westenra has a beautiful voice with a good range. At times she sounds angelic. The first song on the disk sounds a bit like Enya in her early years. Another song sounds like an old Christian hymn. And on songs like “Who’s Your Partner,” she really lets go.

This will be unique to my experience, but when I listen to Hayley’s disk today, it usually conjures up memories of the Gather First Chapters Writing Competition. I was in the throes of that competition when I first listened to the album. I celebrated my victory as a semi-finalist in the contest with Hayley’s music in the background. I dreamed of winning the prize and getting published by Simon & Shcuster with Hayley serenading me.

But it’s not a completely unique experience. For me and for many people, the music that touches us reminds us of the times when we listened to it. Nirvana and Pearl Jam take me back to college. R.E.M. transports me all the way back to high school. The unearthly sounds of Radiohead’s Kid A reminds me of writing WOMB, a novel I’m currently revising. And songs like “Train in the Distance” and “Mystery Train” make me think of TRACKS, my novel in stories.

For me, Hayley Westenra’s Celtic Treasure will always remind me of my experience making it as a semi-finalist in the first Gather First Chapters Writing Competition.

If you haven’t heard her album yet, give it a listen. Just go to her website for more information.



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