How Chasing Eveline Relates to My Life
I wrote a love letter to music. It’s called CHASING EVELINE, my debut YA contemporary novel due out this year from Pen Name Publishing. The “why” of this starts with what music really is. Merriam-Webster says it is “the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity; vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony”. It certainly is an art that colors the world in unity and harmony. For me, though, it’s more than this. Music is the blood that courses through veins, pumping in and out of the heart. Music is the sky above—whether ominous gray or crystal clear cerulean—that is always there. Music is looking out over the water at a beautiful Italian sunset, enjoying a beer and a good read with my mom the summer after my father passed away.
Music is everything and all things to me.
“The music gave me something my dad and my friends couldn’t. Instead of trying to take away my pain, the songs let me feel every sharp sting and every hollow ache. Chasing Eveline didn’t try to fix me; they just let me be sad.” –Ivy, CHASING EVELINE
When I was in high school, I found the boy of my dreams. He won a stuffed bear for me at the amusement park on a dreamy date where my body crashed into his as we screamed around the twists and turns of roller coasters. Then he kissed me softly under the moonlight. Later that year, as we sat on my driveway under a different moonlit sky, he broke my heart. That night I choked out sobs that came from unidentifiable places deep within me. I gasped for breath that I couldn’t find and felt a whole world crash down on me. The only thing that could comfort me was “I Know It’s Over” by The Smiths. I sat on my bedroom floor, leaned up against the wall, in front of my boom box and played and rewound that cassette tape again and again. I felt the soil falling over my head. I knew it was over, still I clung. In my heart it was so real. Over, over, over. My friends told me it was okay, they told me to like someone else, they told me not to think about it. But The Smiths just let me be sad.
You give the strength to me, a strength I never had,
I was a mess you see, I'd lost the plot so bad,
you dragged me up and out, out of the darkest place,
there's not a single doubt when I can see your faces. (Snow Patrol, “Give Me Strength”)
“When the song was over, my mom sat us on the arms of the ratty armchair and told us that great music would transport us somewhere far away and our bodies would float like butterflies in the April air. She said we may not remember Chris or Robbie, but we would always remember the music that played while our bodies drifted like shadows in the darkened gym.” –Ivy, CHASING EVELINE
So many moments in my life can be connected to a song. Post-college, I traveled to see an ex-boyfriend. I don’t remember what his apartment looked like or what either of us was wearing, but I can still clearly hear “Typical Situation” by The Dave Matthews Band playing in the background as his arms wrapped around me and his lips touched mine for the first time again. “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane will always transport me back to the gray castle ruins, brightly colored buildings, and sheep in the green fields of Ireland. Counting out the nine “fly”s in Tracy Chapman’s “She’s Got Her Ticket” will forever take me to the front seat of my red convertible Mustang when I listened to her eponymous album every morning on the way to school with the neighbor boy. And wherever I am, “Nine in the Afternoon” by Panic! At the Disco will sit me in front of a set of Rock Band drums with sticks poised to hit those yellow, blue, green, and red pads.
I choked back tears today because I can’t begin to say how much you've shaped this (girl),
these last ten years or more. (Snow Patrol, “Give Me Strength”)
“I remember so vividly how the drums rattled deep within my chest and the lyrics I didn’t even understand seemed to whisper secrets meant only for me. The song lingered inside me for days.” – Ivy, CHASING EVELINE
Often it’s the music alone that matters so much. I fall in love every time I hear “So Here We Are” by Bloc Party. From afar, my heart begins to swell with the quiet guitar opening, and as the drums come in, we move closer and closer. By the time the bridge hits, I’m floating. My heart soars higher and the love grows stronger with each measure until we’re hand-in-hand, running and dancing and swirling in a cloud of passion to the end of the song. Other times, it’s the quick tempo of dance music that fuels me. During my runs, when I’m on mile 9 or 12 or sometimes even 3, and my lead-filled legs and winded lungs beg me to give up, it’s then that I turn up the volume on my iPod and let the electronic beats and the pounding rhythm silence the cries and push me forward. One song blurs into another, and there are no lyrics, just a thumping cadence filling every space in my body. I don’t feel anything but the music powering my legs and beating for my heart, taking me to the finish line.
Let me hold you up like you held me up, it's too long to never say this,
you must know I've always thought… (Snow Patrol, “Give Me Strength”)
Music is a best friend. It’s a soundtrack to my life. It’s a life preserver. Music is everything and all things to me.