My First Book Song (Courtney McKinney-Whitaker)

Just today, I was reminded of the first time I connected music to my own work. I think I was in high school, working on my first novel—the one that has never grown beyond a short story written for my sophomore English class and a few scenes my mom loves. Not trying to brag, but it got 5/5 stars from my American literature teacher, who was notoriously tough. So it is obviously the Great (Unwritten) American Novel. (And cue the messages from my mom telling me to get back to it because she wants to know what happens to these people. I would, if I knew how.)

I was also told by a former librarian colleague who was a former New York assistant editor who quit because being a librarian paid more that what I still think is the best scene smacked of purple prose, but then somehow, New York and I never have really clicked. I don't know where that scene is. I hope I didn't burn it (by which I mean delete and rip into little pieces and put in the trash) in a fit of artistic rage.

Anyway, I heard it on the radio again this morning (because I still listen to the radio, like a weirdo), and I looked it up. Strangely, I had never done that before. I'd always just heard it randomly. It's "Wherever You Will Go" by The Calling, and it was released in 2001, proving that I was in college when I first heard it.

It suited my mood, which was of the feeling extremely depressed and hopeless about current events variety. Even in high school, in my first novel, I was writing about people at moments of historical crisis, which provides great dramatic tension, but completely sucks to live through. This was the key line for me:

If a great wave shall fall and fall upon us all
Then between the sand and stone, could you make it on your own

So here you go. Soundtrack for human connection in a Great American Crisis. Or that's the way I interpreted it, anyway. The video has it's own ideas.

I'm a slightly better writer and an exponentially better historian than I was in high school. Maybe it's time to write that novel now.


  1. This is so cool. I totally remember this song. I was in college, too (barely). You should absolutely write that book.


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