The Power of Song and Dance

I've often heard this complaint about musicals.

“It's so unbelievable. The characters just stop what they're doing and start singing and dancing. Who does that in real life?”

A small voice says inside my head, “I do.”

Do you?

I know many people sing their hearts out in the shower. I understand. The acoustics are marvelous. But I also get songs in my head that demand to be sung, some old favorites, some bewildering songs (Why are you here), and some ditties that I make up on the spot.

Here's an example:

I rarely travel. It is not my thing on many levels. I have an anxiety disorder. Travel has many variables out of my control. I would rather spend my available resources on creating more audiobooks. I have a complicated relationship with sleep. Why would I want to travel across time zones? I love seeing family and friends and exploring new places, but travel takes a toll.

But we did go to New York recently, and on the way back, trudging the way through the airport, where the signs were confusing and misleading. (Things are much further away than I imagine they will be.) Luckily, a song popped up in my head and I sang it immediately.

Here are the lyrics:

I hate travel.

I hate travel.

I hate travel.

Traveling's not for me!

Although the song was quite simple, it felt enormously satisfying to sing. I felt cheered up after singing it through once, and so I continued to sing it, softly enough, I think, so that only my husband could hear, and he was goodnatured about it. I imagine that he probably didn't want to hear that song a kajillion times, but, hey, they say a happy wife is a happy life. It was even better when I added a few discreet dance moves. (And here I must say thank you to my high school gym teacher, Mrs. Muilenberg, who taught us dance—jazz, tap, and ballet—and cared more about verve than form. Also, thank you, to Rocco, the jazz dance teacher at the shopping center, who added to my jazz dance tool kit.)

I would also like to add here that I hope to someday have a song about how traveling's a fine thing to do because eventually I would like to travel more, but, for the moment, this is my travel song.

I've recently started to incorporate songs in my writing. My husband and I were listening to the Harry Potter audiobook series in the car, and I was quite taken with Jim Dale's rendition of the sorting hat song. So I've stuck some songs in The Sharpest Claw: A Talking Cat Fantasy. Like me, the cats in these books celebrate with song and dance. It's been fun to add that layer to the book.

The Sharpest Claw should be out in the fall. Until that time, as always, I wish you happy moments in song and dance.