Since this is my first commonplace book entry I’m sharing, let me just give you a quick idea as to how this is going to work.
To avoid spoiling anyone on anything they haven’t read (or watched or whatever) yet, I’m going to give a little introductory heads up as to what things (books, movies, etc) I’m going to quote lines from, and how many entries will be lines from each of them. So, for an example, if I was going to quote one thing from Cinder by Marissa Meyer and three things from Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, my introduction list would look like this:
Cinder, Marissa Meyer – 1
Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Laini Taylor – 3
Right, so I’m also going to begin each commonplace book with lyrics rather than something from a book or show, so you’ll have a nice long space here at the beginning where spoilers aren’t, so you won’t happen across them if you’re trying to avoid them. There will also be a nice big announcement on each page when the lyric section is over.
Side note, anybody want to posit ideas as to why people don’t usually want spoilers from books and movies, but don’t seem to mind when people start singing the middle of a song? Song spoilers don’t seem to be a thing for most people. My guess is because usually there’s some kind of narrative tension in a book or a movie, but some songs are like that, too, and also often rely on their context, so I’m not sure about that.
Anyway! Hopefully this will help everyone figure out how to navigate the page easily enough without stumbling across anything you mean to avoid.
Shadow Scale, Rachel Hartman – 1
The Copper Gauntlet, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – 2
“You are the hole in my head
You are the space in my bed
You are the silence in between
What I thought, and what I said.”
No Light, No Light – Florence and the Machine
What a way to begin a song.
It immediately establishes the relationship between the singer and the addressed as a romantic one (reference to bed), but it makes it difficult in that the lover is, in all these cases, the absence. Also, I really love the reference to the things that we do not say, and how often that might come out in romantic entanglements.
Being a hole in someone’s head also does not seem like a compliment, but the lover is still seemingly sought after (especially by the rest of the song).
“I can’t decide if it’s a choice
Getting swept away
I hear the sound of my own voice
Asking you to stay.”
Treacherous, Taylor Swift
This is more about the idea than the syntax or poetry of the actual lines – it’s just a really interesting consideration to me. Do you choose to give your heart away, or does it happen all on its own? I hear all the time that falling in love is an accidental thing, or something we can’t control (if we could, would heartache ever happen?) but I wonder how much we choose to be open to someone. Or during the act of falling in love, how many things do we dislike and try not to, just because we want to have that feeling of falling in love, or being with someone?
The uncertainty of being unsure as to how much will determines love also carries through the second pair of lines; the speaker’s request for the lover to stay seems to occur without her consciously deciding it, due to the way she hears it as if it’s somehow disconnected from her. It’s like her voice is answering without her permission (sweeping her away without choice).
The verb ‘decide’ in the beginning, though – that’s a verb of agency, and it implies the very thing that she’s unsure of – choice.
This next one is a little strange, because I misheard the lyrics at first, so Iv;e done an entry for the wrong lyrics that I thought existed, and then the actual lyrics.
“Abandoned drink the lonely down.”
Until the Levee, Joy Williams (and my own incorrect ears)
Even though it’s not the real lyric, this is a nice because she’s calling herself abandoned, which gives her a kind of ownership of that state. “Abandoned” as that part of speech would stand in for a whole group of abandoned; it would stand for “the abandoned ones,” which groups her in with other abandoned ones, and that kind of softens the isolation/loneliness. It makes her part of a family.
“I bend and drink the lonely down.”
Until the Levee, Joy Williams
This lyric is still really interesting, but in a different way. Still has a kind of agency, because it’s a deliberate action that she’s taking, both in bending and in choosing it sip on that lonely.
Lonely as a drinkable, physical thing is a nice rumination, because then it seems like something she might have more physical control over, and it ties in with the water metaphor of the whole song (like the recurring levee and the beginning line “ghost out on the water”).
It also seems to create a more positive message with the song overall when it ties in to that extended water metaphor. If the levee is holding back the water, as levees do, and the water is where her emotions are, it means she’s hanging out in the feelings (which also ties in neatly with “stand here in the ache” from the chorus) and that when that levee breaks, there could be a kind of release for her.
Lyric section ends now! Here there be spoilers, all the way through the end of the post. To reiterate, there is one line from Shadow Scale, by Rachel Hartman, and two from The Copper Gauntlet, by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.
“Josquin polished my words in translation, laying them at Baroneta Do Lire’s feet like gleaming jewels.”
Shadow Scale, 87, Rachel Hartman
This reinforces the bowed stance of the protagonists before Baroneta Do Lire, and creates a consistent metaphor. Words are gifts here, and words can gleam.
“He was starting to worry that there weren’t any good guys. Just people with longer or shorter evil overlord lists.”
The Copper Gauntlet, 171, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
This is really nice because it references his current state of concerns and simultaneously reflects on the world around him. It’s a very protagonist-growth moment, and it’s hilarious, and it feels sincere.
“So that had been his first kiss. It had been…soft?”
The Copper Gauntlet, 260, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
His dazed confusion is really entertaining. Also, the construction echoes the confusion well, and it feels the way that kind of first experience feels – it feels like “Well, okay, a kiss is happening now.”