Murphy Parker is going to be a songwriter – if she can ever find the courage to let anyone hear her music. When Murphy dares to play one of her songs in a music class, she’s shocked by how much her classmates love it. And her. That is, until the next day, when they hear a suspiciously similar tune and accuse Murphy of stealing.
Someone is playing Murphy’s music and claiming it as their own. But who? And why? Desperate to clear her name and reclaim her songs, Murphy makes an unlikely alliance. But it turns out that friendship might be even more complicated than tracking down a song thief…
As well as its outstanding depiction of parental mental illness, How to Write the Soundtrack to Your Life had impressive disability representation. Murphy’s classmate and friend, Zara, was bold and fierce and unafraid to stand up for what she believed in. She also happened to be a wheelchair user. Not only did Fiona Hardy offer disabled readers a character they could relate to, she also highlighted some of the advantages of disability inclusion. Being friends with Zara made Murphy and the other characters more aware of the inaccessibility of the world around them. As Murphy’s friend Avery put it, “you notice every single place you go to and how Zara-unfriendly they are.”
Join us for the celebration of How to Tackle Your Dreams by Fiona Hardy, launched by Nicole Hayes.
Everyone knows that Homer loves Australian Rules football. But ever since his dad moved away and his mum was drafted in the women’s league, something…
— fiona hardy (@fionathehardy) May 7, 2022
Hopefully one day your dreams of a gold encrusted house might come true.
As more songs played, I kept thinking about that. How songs made people feel different ways, like they were in different seasons. Like they were running, or sitting calmly, or at the beach; or the feeling they had when their dog had gone to the vet and not come back; or when they were at their grandma’s farm and it was night and so dark they could see everything and nothing. And the more they spoke, the more I knew I was desperate to play my keyboard. To make something like these things. To build a feeling.
This had me thinking about the role of music in setting space. For example, the soundtrack to Sons of Anarchy draws on many familar tracks, but interprets them to fit a particular feel. Or David Lynch’s subversive choices, such as the use of Roy Orbison’s In Dreams in Blue Velvet.
To me, Lynch and Orbison both occupy a space in their respective art forms as singular voices. Each seem to traverse or explore more dream-like or subconscious terrain and each bring back a vision that is unique, that is, perhaps, candy colored.
Another way of looking at the creation of space, is the search for a space long lost. This is what Daniel Leviton unpacks in regards to the association between music and the memory of a particular time in life,
Fiona Hardy’s funny and heartfelt new novel How to Write the Soundtrack to Your Life is a celebration of music, creativity, and listening to the world around us. Here, Fiona shares some of the music that has shaped her life.