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 Fantastical, Tori 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.
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.