Music and memories

The office door is open to let the morning cool inside and I’m looking forward to making a big leap forward with the manuscript.

I’ve sorted my notes and have put a CD into the player – Arvo Pärt’s Fratres. I love the strange moodiness of the compositions. For some reason, they suit this novel.

Every book I’ve written has a soundtrack associated with it. Sometimes a scene and a song fit together so perfectly that whenever I hear the song again, sometimes years later, it will conjur the scene. There’s a particular scene in Market Blues that always comes to mind when I hear Van Morrison’s Brown-Eyed Girl. When I wrote my first novel, Zarconi’s Magic Flying Fish, I was obsessed with the Dirty Three’s album Ocean Songs. It became so intrinsically linked with the whole book that I thanked them in the acknowledgments.

My viola-playing son, Billy, introduced me to Arvo Pärt. He lives in Berlin where he studies music at the Universität der Künste. That’s him in the photographs, practicing on the balcony of his sister’s apartment in Jakarta. (Yes, all my kids suffer continental drift.)

Music is important to the creative process but it is also something that is lovely to share. My desk is littered with CD’s – much of it music that my children have introduced me to. It makes me feel a little closer to them when they are far away. And sometimes, it takes me closer to the heart of a story.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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