HOW KATE BUSH HELPS ME WRITE.
BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Kate Bush is probably used to having people tell her how much her wonderful music has meant to them over the years, and still means to them today. I’m still going to add my two penn’orth to the mountain of praise, accolades, thanks and admiration, however, for what it’s worth, and Kate can smile graciously and benignly, as I’m sure she always does, and add it to the pile in the mental box-room where she probably keeps these things, lol.
I’ve been self-publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing for years now (KDP is the greatest thing to ever happen in the world of publishing, bar none), but my first traditionally published romantic fiction novel, THIRTEEN STOPS, is out now. The story of the fictional people who use the Luas line in Dublin from the Stephen’s Green stop to Sandyford and back again, it was written during the autumn of 2018 with Kate Bush on in the background the whole time.
I wrote the sequel, THIRTEEN STOPS LATER, in the winter/spring of 2019, with Kate’s album 50 WORDS FOR SNOW pretty much on repeat every single day I was writing. The sheer beauty of songs like MISTY (sex with a snowman, anyone?), SNOWED IN AT WHEELER STREET with Elton John and the titular 50 WORDS FOR SNOW literally helped me to fly through the writing. This was the easiest book in the trilogy to write, and at least some of the credit must go to the gorgeous and sensual Ms. Bush, the most beautiful woman in the world and the only gal I would ever turn gay for.
Her album, THE KICK INSIDE, with songs on it like MOVING, THE SAXOPHONE SONG and THEM HEAVY PEOPLE, literally makes me forget what I’m doing when I hear them. Ditto, LIONHEART and the sexy, swirly, twirly, whirly masterpiece she christened AERIAL.
The track HELLO EARTH from the album HOUNDS OF LOVE contains the haunting choral music from Werner Herzog’s fabulous vampire film, NOSFERATU, possibly the only film gothic enough and worthy enough of being mentioned in the same breath as Kate Bush.
This is my favourite film of all time, and, the fact that Kate (can I call you Kate, Kate?) clearly loves it too makes her even more of a soulmate. This album is so wild, so spiritual, so powerfully elemental, you can’t listen to it without imagine Kate rising heroically, triumphantly, from the waves, waves which are crashing against the rocks like the end of the world is coming, or Poseidon is having a really bad hair day.
I’ve just finished writing the third book in the THIRTEEN STOPS trilogy, THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER, a prequel to the events that take place in the first book. I mixed and matched all my Kate albums whilst penning it.
One day I’d be listening to THE DREAMING, with songs on it like the magnificent NIGHT OF THE SWALLOW, PULLING OUT THE PIN and GET OUT OF MY HOUSE. (This last was especially apt during the Great Coronavirus Lockdown of 2020, which was when I wrote the third book. Kate’s inspirational music was especially needed and welcome during this time, as all my usual sources of inspiration, such as going for long walks in the fresh air, were temporarily closed off to me during this time, what with the whole ‘STAY HOME, STAY SAFE AND PROTECT EACH OTHER’ thing.)
Anyway, another day I’d be playing THE OTHER SIDES, a boxset with four albums on it, one of which is among my favourites of all of her works, IN OTHERS’ WORDS. She sings MNA NA hEIREANN and MY LAGAN LOVE on this album as if she were as Irish as a fight outside a Dublin boozer on a Saturday night over the relative merits of Jack Charlton versus Mick McCarthy. She has a Celtic soul, that girl.
She does some beautiful covers of popular pop songs here as well: Marvin Gaye’s SEXUAL HEALING and her pal Elton John’s ROCKET MAN and GOODBYE NORMA JEAN. Her cover of Donovan’s THE REEDY RIVER is so hauntingly atmospheric and other-worldly that it actually gives my teenage son the creeps.
He’s autistic, but he recognised straightaway that this isn’t just a song, or a cover, it’s an eerie trip back in time, so far back that you end up entering through a mist-wreathed portal in to Irish mythology, where the bewitched Children of Lir are still, in a parallel universe, living out their nine hundred years on an enchanted lake as swans. If the portal disappears, you’re stuck there forever…
The song MOMENTS OF PLEASURE from the album THE RED SHOES has always struck me as being particularly meaningful, beautiful and sad, but when I discovered during the Lockdown that it’s factually based, on some people who were very dear to Kate who’d sadly passed away, I went to pieces altogether and bawled my eyes out watching the video repeatedly on YouTube while I was meant to be writing. There’s nothing like a good cry for making you feel better, sure there’s not?
I’m now facing into a few long, hard months of editing THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER and THIRTEEN STOPS LATER. I may sometimes put on a bit of Leonard Cohen or Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel (I have eclectic tastes, okay?), but I always return faithfully to Kate Bush, the artist who, in 1978, at aged nineteen, gave us the immortal legend of a song that is WUTHERING HEIGHTS, a song that effortlessly conjures up the wild, windswept moors of Emily Bronte’s fabulous gothic novel. Kindred spirits, they are, those two!
Kate’s a woman with an immense talent, a talent so rare that it’s found only in a chosen few. (Naturally, I’m one of this elite company of peeps myself, lol.) I’ll have her with me when I do my editing and, when I eventually go on to a new writing project, she’ll be there too, inspiring me, encouraging me, keeping me going or even just keeping me company, during those long lonely mornings of writing when I’m so tired I just want to go back to bed, or so dispirited and downhearted about it all that it feels like I’m the only person who’d give a flying eff if I just jacked the whole thing in and never wrote another word. Thanks, Kate, for the memories, and the many moments of pleasure your magical songs have brought me. I wouldn’t have missed out on the chance to love them for the world.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.