Yeah, I Was in a Band... - Kristin Rae

Music was my first love. When I was something like four and five years old, I was obsessed with Madonna. She was taking over the world. I didn't understand her words then (thankfully), but I danced around the house singing at the top of my lungs with plastic cupcake tops shoved under my shirt because they were pointy (it was icing with a cherry in the middle) and I thought they looked like those cones she wore. My grandma made dress-up clothes for me, and my friends and I would act out our own music videos. We were dramatic. And loud.

Then I got into art. Drawing, mostly, which I've lost all talent for now. But I came to look at things more closely as I'd try to copy them. I was more observant. I remember taking this little timed quiz for school where you stare at a picture for ten seconds or something, then you write down everything you can remember about it. I'd find all these little details others wouldn't. I was beginning to notice the world differently.

I got interested in photography just after high school. My parents got me my first fancy Nikon before my graduation trip to Hawaii. I took something like twelve rolls of film worth of pictures. Instant addict. It got to where I started looking at my surroundings like I always had a camera up to my eye. I frame things out, notice symmetry, angles, colors. All those years teaching myself photography, I had no idea I was helping my future writing career. (And now that I'm digital, twelve rolls of film has turned into hundreds of photos per trip).

Speaking of careers, at one point in time I thought music was going to be my career. I was in a band through college. We wrote our own stuff--I usually wrote the words, the guys came up with the music, the other singer came up with the melody. I don't have a fantastic voice, really. I can stay on pitch, sure, but there's nothing unique about it. Our band fizzled as everyone got married and started having kids.

My band. I'm the girl on the left.

I still love singing, but eventually I figured out that what I loved most was writing the songs. So I started writing novels. Something that clicked more than anything else I ever tried my hand at, yet without the influence of music and photography, my writing wouldn't be the same. Now I look to music as an emotional informant for my characters and scenes. I look to my photographic eye for crafting settings I hope the reader feels like they're seeing with their own eyes.

How dull life would be without music and the arts. How dull writing would be.


  1. Very cool! I love your explanation of how you utilize visual arts and music to influence your writing. :)

  2. Love the final lines of this post. Elegant. Also, so true about the interplay of techniques between performing, visual and literary arts!

  3. Very cool to learn about these other aspects of your life. And yes, I agree, that other aspects and endeavors in my life definitely enhance my writing.

  4. I was always fascinated with people in bands. :-) Very cool how you found your love for writing through that.


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