Don’t Give Me Songs, Give Me Something to Sing About

Today’s post is in participation with Women On Writing’s mass-blogging event, Everybody is Talking About Finding the Music in Life. We are celebrating the release of Sonia’s Song by Sonia Korn-Grimani. To read Sonia’s post and follow our symphony of participating bloggers visit The Muffin. Share your comments on any participating blog for a chance to win a copy of Sonia’s Song!

Sonia’s Song is the story of one girl, who rises from war’s ashes to sing the songs of hope and love world-wide. A heart-wrenching and poignant memoir, by internationally renowned singer Sonia Korn-Grimani.



I have been singing since I learned how to speak. So to ask me how I find music within life is like asking me how I find music within a song. You just cannot have one without the other. I think the best way I have been able to describe my feelings about music was in a paper I wrote for my high school choir class. The teacher read it aloud to everyone, and ultimately decided to put it on the choir page in the yearbook:

“Music is the greatest and purest expression of emotion. Every high or low, the greatest ecstasy, the most crushing depression, the most intoxicating hatred or love are all best understood through music: the universal language. People don’t have to understand the words used, because they will hear the passion in the song and know what is being said. Sometimes words just aren’t enough. When a word has yet to be invented for so strong a feeling that it is overwhelming, a song is born.”

I still believe this (although I’m sure every artist will tell you the same thing about her/his own medium of art).

For my twenty-first birthday, my gift to myself was a tattoo. I wanted something that I knew I would always love. Since I didn’t have any children at the time, the answer was clearly music. Nothing will ever take the music from me.

The notes are a line from the Moulin Rouge song, “Come What May,” and the words for the line are: “Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing?” Because when music affects you as much as it affects me, even your heart sings.


I’d like to leave you with a short excerpt from my novel, Finding ‘Ohana, of Cinnamin and Naali’s first date:


I’d been scared to let Naali know how I thought of her, but I’d still dressed up for her, hoping she might think of me the same way. We went to see The Princess and the Frog, which I had suggested because I’m such a Disney nut. I was excited to see the newest princess movie, but I was more excited for an excuse to see Naali outside of class. I’d had no idea it was a date until halfway through the movie.

My eyes had been glued to the screen as the Cajun firefly, Ray, started singing about the evening star, Evangeline. I’d been too nervous to look at Naali in the seat next to me.

Look how she lights up the sky, ma belle, Evangeline, Ray sang of his true love.

My eyes flicked over to Naali. She was not looking at the screen. Instead, her gaze was focused on me. My face had burned at getting caught looking at her during the romantic song, and I’d retreated to watching the movie again.

Love always finds a way, it’s true. And I love you, Evangeline. A trumpet solo had played and I’d felt Naali’s hand reach for mine. Shocked, I’d turned to her, but her eyes were closed, head swaying gently to the music. I let her fingers intertwine with mine. 


6 thoughts on “Don’t Give Me Songs, Give Me Something to Sing About

  1. That’s really pretty. Its amazing how music is so universal in its very nature. Music is one of the things found in every culture across the earth. Perhaps we didn’t become truly human until we learned how to sing?

  2. Thank you, Angela! I love my tattoo; I never get sick of seeing it & bragging about it!

    Mike, beautifully said. I definitely agree. I think music is something that is inherent in humanity. And that means it’s something that connects us. It doesn’t matter that I love show tunes and my neighbor loves country, we both feel the music and it connects us to each other as fellow human beings. Just like it connects us to people of other cultures, races, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations, even time periods. Music makes us part of something greater.

  3. Music can inject swagger and produce strength, while it can just as easily purge the soul and destroy it in the same breath. It’s an amazing link to our memory, as we’re unconditionally trained to connect music to intense emotion. And it makes legends out of people.

    But most of all, it reminds me of love. It reminds me that as beings of a higher intelligence, we’re able to grasp a concept that if looked at as pure survival or something with quantifiable evidence looks nonsensical. I love what music turns me into. How singing to the radio by yourself in the car is sometimes a great thing to look forward to even if we’re going to work or having to start the long journey home. And more impressive still, when it inspires you to sing with 4 other people in the car! And they start to sing just as loudly, thinking of nothing else!

    Like Mike said, it’s our humanity. I love it more purely than I do most anything else in my life, but even thinking of those people makes me think of music, or at least how to describe the love I feel for these people.

    Like Sierra said, you can’t take the music away from me. Just like you can’t take the love away from me. They’re just what I live for and by.

  4. Stephanie, enthusiasm is the most important part! All that matters is that you feel the music. I used to get down on myself because I can’t read music, but I feel it, and so I allow it to touch me and I allow myself to change it as it changes me. In my novel, the main character’s wife is tone deaf, but she sings as loud as she can anyway because she’s a free spirit. And that’s what the main character loves about her.

    Jaryd, thank you for saying so eloquently what I have trouble putting into words sometimes. (Which is why I love music. But I’m also a writer, so I have to struggle to put the undefinable into words.)
    I loved what you said about music seeming nonsensical if you look at it logically. This is so true, and I agree that this is part of why it is so intrinsically linked with love. There’s nothing logical about it, and yet it is crucial to our souls.

    It’s ironic that part of what makes us human is our reason and logic, and another, just as integral part of what makes us human is our ability to love and create art, which has nothing to do with logic.

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