Jamis has rattled around inside my head for twenty years. I could never quite get it together enough to bring her to the world. Until I did, unexpectedly, in late 2017. It took another two years to get here - and an amazing editor who believed in me.
The music I associated with the story was constant. I've created a playlist on Spotify to share with you. Click below for the playlist - and read on for my commentary.
"Crazy" - Shawn Colvin This is all Jamis. It's her anthem. There is a great line about control, and I really think this story is about surrender, acceptance, transcendence and the what happens when we let go and trust.
"Waters of March" - Jane Monheit I originally thought about writing this story as a split Jamis/Johnna POV, but it didn't work. It wasn't the story that wanted to be told. But I always imagine Johnna running her favorite trail, the bricks, the bottles, the shotgun shells left behind. Johnna more than any other character is fully present. She notices and sees everything. This is her anthem. It's ultimately what I wanted the story to be about - life, death, and carrying on.
"Life for Rent" - Dido This is Jamis. Another anthem.
"Take it Easy on Me" - Beth Hart This is a love song for Jamis and Johnna. It's so breathtaking, haunting, and beautiful. I imagine this is how Johnna feels when she asks Jamis, "Why me?"
"Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" - Rufus Wainwright I imagine this as another Jamis anthem, as she struggles through her course of action, to stay or go, to love Johnna or not. To let go and trust and allow herself to find love and happiness.
"Divenire" - Ludovico Einaudi This song is haunting and beautiful, and at times, builds in intensity to untenable heights. But it never stops being beautiful, and I feel like this is Stephanie. Her pain is so real, it manifests in the physical world and brings Jamis to Sage Creek. She is at the heart of the story, with Emma, and it is their story that carries Jamis to her destination.
Emma / Carmen
"Love that Makes a Cup of Tea" - Gretchen Peters This is how Emma feels for her kids and Jamis. It is the sentiment that guides her actions. I love how this song makes me feel. This is Emma's story. I love her character so much.
"Summer Dress" - Shawn Colvin I imagine this song playing as Emma dresses and readies to drive to Carmen's mother's funeral.
"My Immortal" - Evanescence This is Carmen's song. I imagine this is her anguish, losing Emma, twice. Her struggle to move on with her life.
"A Case of You" - Diana Krall This is Carmen and Emma's love song. I imagine it playing while they make love after so man years.
The Story's Arc and Ending
"Rain" - Creed I hear this song as Jamis drives away from Mildred and Salt Lake, confused by her own darkness and demons, uncertain of her path.
"Up the Wolves" & "Foreign Object" - Mountain Goats I imagine both of these songs as the ending blazes. Read and you'll know why.
"This Must Be the Place" - Shawn Colvin This the song that takes us to the end of the story, when Jamis realizes Johnna is home.
"Let the Mystery Be" - Iris Dement I think the song speaks for itself.
"Crazy" -Gnarls Barkely Just another great version of the Jamis's song.