For most of my high school years and well into my early twenties, I wanted to be a singer-lyricist, not a novelist. I experimented with a couple of musical collaborators but finally had to admit that I didn’t have the temperament for the rock and roll life. Plus, I hated staying up late. So I switched back to fiction. But music continues to have a huge influence on my creative process and so several of my stories have featured musicians and songs.

So you can see what you’ve been spared, here are a few samples.

Exodus 22:18

This song preceded the short story by a few years. The story was my way to get to sing it, I guess. It has music, courtesy of the composer I worked with in a doomed basement band.

You hear her singing with a voice like temptation
Like the one you hear in your guignol dreams
Painting demons over throbbing drums
She’s stealing souls in the steely hum
And you know, you know what she really means
As just like the last one
And the one before that
You know what you’ve got to do
You better catch her while she’s turning
Cause she’s got her candles burning
And you know that she’s been watching you
And you shall not suffer
No you shall not suffer
Cause you’re only doing what he tells you to
You see her moving like a serpent in the garden
Like the one that leaves the fire in your veins
Just like all the good books say
Everyone’s going to thank you some day
Cause you know, you know they’re all the same
As you’re pulling down the shade
You can hear her calling
And you’re reaching for the blade
You can see her falling
Just one touch and she’ll be falling, falling, falling,
Falling for you

The Party Over There

I can’t remember whether the song developed before the story in this case or not. I actually wrote music for this one, composed on a borrowed drum machine, and I recorded it at a friend’s house with just voice and drums. (Personal note: about 8 years later, I married him.)

You move through the darkness
Where it’s black on black on black
The light shines off the silver
off the leather, off the track
Looking for an invitation
To a very exclusive affair
In the flick of a cigarette
And a narrow-eyed stare
There’s a party going on
It’s the party, party over there (2x)
If you look in the mirrors
In the strobe lights’ hypno-glare
Then you’ll see, you’ll see, you’ll see
The party over there
At this party it’s not who you know
Or even what you wear
It’s just a certain sensibility
And a need you can’t declare
It takes a very special desperation
To sense this party in the air
In the heat and the dark and shadows
moving on the stair

Strange Thing

I wrote a lot of songs about vampires, murder, and unrequited love. This is one of the vampire ones. This was written around the same time as the short story “Cold Sleep” and the vampire depicted here became Dimitri Rozokov.

I’m on the night shift
Oh tonight I’m waiting
I heard him last night
At my window knocking
I heard him saying
“let me in”
In the beating of dark wings
I saw his shadow on the ledge
Such a strange thing

I’ve heard about him
On the movies at midnight
But they’re in technicolour
Oh he’s in black and white
I’ve had my doors locked
Everything so safe so tight
I’ve been sleeping
But I’m going to awake tonight
Yes, I’m going to awake tonight

He’s as pale as the frost
when it hangs on the trees
He’s as warm as the snow
when your skin starts to freeze
He’s as grey as the sky
in the dawn in the city
He’s as sharp as the ice
oh last night I dreamed he kissed me
Ooh last night I dreamed he kissed me
And then he kissed me

Gone Missing

One of the central characters in The Night Inside is Sara Alexander, who sings in a punk-country band (modeled on X) called Black Sun. This is the song she writes about her missing sister, Ardeth.

There’s a girl walking down the street
She looks just like you
And I call out your name
Though I never mean to
She turns around and there’s a stranger
Looking out of her eyes
And I look away when I realize
That the thing I was looking for
Has gone missing

I used to laugh at you
Cause you were always on time
You used to yell at me
Cause I was always changing my mind
And I can’t help but believe
That it really should have been me
Yeah everybody thought that I was the one
Who’d go missing

While I was out dancing on the ledge
You just fell right over the edge
And disappeared into the night
With all the missing

And no one will say it
But I see it in their eyes
You’ll be just another Jane Doe
The dental chart identifies
As the better part of someone’s heart
That went missing