If music be the food of love, play on. ~William Shakespeare

I spent nineteen years of my life inside a high school math classroom and I overheard many conversations. One of the most interesting topics to eavesdrop on was when the kids played the “Would You Rather?” game. A lot of questions were completely silly, like “Would you rather be Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel?” However, one struck me and all these years later, I still think about that question often.

Would you rather go blind or deaf?

Ooh. That would be a hard one to choose.

On the one hand, if I went blind, I could no longer drive. Driving, and the freedom it brings, would be hard to give up. I would never see the Grand Canyon; or any more beautiful sunsets; the face of Elias, my newest grandchild; or my granddaughters at their weddings.

But if I went deaf, I’d no longer hear music. That would be a huge thing to give up. I love music. The unexpectedness of a subtonic VII shift. Perfect harmonies. The power of a gravely voice that can sing sweet and clear just as well.

My husband and I spent a recent vacation with some of his school friends. Randy and Danny are brothers, both very smart and both very sarcastic. Being around them for a week was to be treated to nonstop comedic routines, perfect timing delivered with deadpan emotion. Side-splittingly funny.

We discussed music one night after supper. Sitting around the table, Danny asked if the music was more important to us, or the words. The construction or the story? Randy fell into the story camp. A lot of country music tells a story.

I’m on Team Music. I can listen to a Josh Groban song where he sings in Italian and not understand a word. But the music draws a story in my imagination. The notes speak to my soul. However, the poetry of a song’s lyrics get to me too. So maybe I’m Team Story after all. Hard to decide.

Randy grew vociferous in his defense of the story side of music. Danny, sitting quite still, got a self-satisfied look on his face. I knew he was about to deliver a bombshell of a wisecrack. He held his hands up, pantomiming playing a jaw harp. He said, “Randy would hear a song with this–” insert the jaw harp playing a single note–choing– “and would say, ‘Yeah! That’s a great song.'”

We laughed until tears streamed down our faces, but I’ve thought of that conversation a lot. What team would you be on? Are you moved by the notes or by the words? What is the one song in the world that always elicits an emotional response for you?

I like to write my books with music playing in the background. The sound of the songs sets a mood for me. I have playlists that I use for different scenes. Sad scenes. Love scenes. Angry scenes. What are your go-to songs? I may add them to my lists. If you want me to share my playlists, just comment at the end and I’ll send you my Spotify links.

When I wrote A Father’s Gift, I played songs that sounded sad or poignant. Manny, the main character, lost his father when he was a young boy. Now, with the birth of his first child impending, thoughts of his dad consume him. What could his father have taught him, had he been around? What advice would he share? Manny goes on a quest to find answers about what really happened that fateful day so many years ago. But his questions stir up sleeping dogs that certain people would rather let lie.

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Here is one of my favorite songs about the season. I hope you enjoy it. And I pray you have a blessed and merry Christmas.

12 Replies to “If music be the food of love, play on. ~William Shakespeare”

  1. I have Wet Macular in both eyes, But I have an early diagnosis and the best medication and have my eyes back to the same eyesight with correction. I do take the medication. I would choose to keep my vision. I can read, write, paint, read lips… so much that hearing can’t I’ve me. And I could still remember the sounds, I have contemplated this, and then I remember Helen Keller… born blind and deaf.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Paula! I love music! I’ve been asked about losing sight or hearing. I thank God that He knows all, because I couldn’t decide. Avalon is a fantastic group! I listen to them at times. I think I prefer classical music on a regular basis. I don’t carry a tune very well, but if there are lyrics, you can bet I’ll be singing along. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, and may God bless you in the coming year.

  3. I would love to have your playlists!! . Music has been my life! I thought about this and decided that, of course, I don’t want to choose either one, but I don’t EVER want to go deaf! But, some people, as they age, do go completely deaf, and even hearing aids cannot stop the hearing loss and are never strong enough to get the person to be able to hear well enough to hear sounds again!! It’s so sad! My daughter and son-in-law now own my parent’s hearing aid business that they took over when my Daddy retired right before he passed away from cancer in 2010. We’ve seen all kinds of cases. Thank you!

  4. Considering I was in band from 6th grade to 12th, I definitely am team music over music lyrics. My favorite was concert season over marching season, but both were very fulfilling. I even was in a jazz band in my senior year in high school in New Orleans. So I notce the music over the words most of the time. I can also admit, I am the one to sing the wrong words when singing to tunes in my car.

  5. I’m in the music camp, although occasionally it’s the lyrics that win me over. I also write with music. It does a fantastic job of setting the mood! I’d love to see your Spotify list.

  6. I loved your song of “Light a Candle” because I can hear all the words so I can sing along. Country music is the best because it usually tells a story. Very well done !!!

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