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Apr 01

A is for Amos

Today kicks off the A-Z Challenge, which I’ve decided to take part in because I’m insane like that. (Though I believe most authors are!) If you’ve not heard about this challenge, it’s similar to NaNoWriMo, but instead of writing an entire book in a month, I will be posting short bits up on this site every day for the month of April (except for Sundays, because I gotta sleep sometime).

If you’re new to this site, welcome! I’m a Seattle science fiction & fantasy author. Feel free to explore, learn more about me and my novels, and check out the letter “A” below.


 A is for Amos, Tori

Nothing makes me feel older than the realization that Little Earthquakes came out 24 years ago.

Tori Amos is one of those musicians that people love to hate, but regardless of your opinion of her, she impacted women’s role in music in the 90’s.

For my Hodge-Podge of Influences & Wayward Treks through the FantasticalTori Amos weaves her way through both parts of this theme.

The first time I heard a song by her, I was sixteen. 1994 was a year of change for me–my father was very sick, and our relationship changed in a way that wouldn’t recover for a great many years.

It was the time of cassette tapes, and the idea of a woman singing about sexuality, rape, and strength were foreign concepts to me (and most of the southern U.S. it seems), so when Crucify trickled out the speakers, it grabbed my attention.

Even then, I didn’t rush out and drink the Kool-Aid.

At a friend’s house later that year, it was Girl that forced me to pay attention to the red-head and her piano.

From in the shadow / she calls
And in the shadow / she finds a way

She’s been everybody else’s girl
Maybe one day she’ll be her own

“Sit in the chair and be good now” 
And become all that they told you
The white coats enter her room.

I think most teenagers, seeking to find themselves in the chaos of growing up, can identify with lyrics like that.

Tori Amos, Raven Oak, & Erik Backstage 2000

Erik & I backstage w/ Tori (2000).

I spent the majority of my college years running the North Texas ToriFest, which consisted of throwing fan parties at my place several times a year (which meant 30-45 people crammed into small places, having quite a blast), in addition to organizing a few fundraisers for RAINN and a few release parties for Epic Records.

While I don’t enjoy some of her more recent music as much as the older works, there’s a certain nostalgia on looking back at those earlier songs in an earlier time when I only dreamed of being a published author. There’s a certain magic in nostalgia and the introspective reflection it brings.

Whatever magic Tori Amos cast in her music, it gave me the strength to be my own person and keep working toward my dreams. Almost twenty-four years later, I’m the author of a bestselling fantasy novel with another book due out in June.

I won’t attribute my success to Tori–I’m the one who worked hard to get where I am–but the wisdom found in the music wasn’t lost on me. Nor was her passion for what she does.

It’s a lesson I keep close to me as I write daily.

(Image of Tori Amos is by krissikes – Flickr, CC BY 2.0)


This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays) in the month of May, I’ll be posting about people, places, books, games, and other things that influence me as a writer or add a certain magic to my life. Join me in April as we explore a Hodge-Podge of Influences & Wayward Treks through the Fantastical.

Read more A-Z Challenge Posts here.

About the author

Raven Oak

Bestselling science fiction & fantasy author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood, Class-M Exile, and the collection Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays.

She spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet. When she's not writing, she's getting her game on, enjoying cartography, or staring at the ocean.

She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.

6 comments
ClarabelleRant
ClarabelleRant

I came to your blog on "C," but found that your "A" was Tori.  I LOVE her, too!!  I had to comment on this post.  You did stop my heart for a beat when you mentioned that Little Earthquakes came out 24 years ago!!! I hate counting backwards :/  I think that album changed a lot of people's perceptions about what being a "girl" meant.  Her passion alone was inspiring. 


You can find me here:

http://clarabellerant.com

Heather Musk
Heather Musk

I don't know many songs by Tori Amos, the only one I can think of is Cornflake Girl which is the first that I heard.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, I love everything sci-fi and fantasy so I look forward to more of your posts.

kaonevar
kaonevar moderator

@Heather Musk Yep, Cornflake Girl was one of her radio hits, so I'm not surprised you've heard it. :)
I'm a huge SF/F geek myself (as if that wasn't obvious). Welcome!

Latest blog post: B is for Bring Back Firefly!

EcoCatLady
EcoCatLady

I've never actually heard of Tori Amos - but I'm listening to Girl right now. Thanks!

kaonevar
kaonevar moderator

@EcoCatLady She's still making music, but definitely had her largest fan base in the 90's. Fairly "open" and raw music at times.

Trackbacks

  1. […] While published in 1996, I didn’t snag a copy until 1998/1999 when an attendee of the North Texas ToriFest told me I’d be a fool not to read it. The word choice and worldbuilding blew my mind. […]