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Black Tree's Playlist

Here are some of the songs that went through my head while I was working on this book. I've divided them up into different parts of my writing process.

The Early Stages - Ludovico Einaudi's Divenire. In particular, the track "Andare," but also "Divenire," "Monday," and "Oltremare." From his album Nightbook, "The Tower." I listened to these songs while writing the first parts of this book, which were the Section I chapters, particularly the description of the tree (which was the very first thing I wrote). These songs are those walks beside that cold ocean, walks through water where nature and emotion become one. Where everything is silent and also loud, constantly moving, constantly feeling. Sometimes peaceful and sometimes chaotic.

The Early Stages Bleeding Over Into All the Rest - Flyleaf's Memento Mori. While Divenire helped me start, Memento Mori is the album I think of when I think of this book--every single track (except "Stay"). In particular, it influenced Abigail's narrative in Section II. If you've read the album booklet, I think you'll see what I mean in terms of the abstract war between two groups. "Circle" centers around Grey (sometimes so deeply that I have trouble casually listening to the song anymore). "Uncle Bobby" belongs to both Grey and Alice--with Abigail looking on. "Break Your Knees" is the intersection between pain and healing that Abigail faces coming to the last chapters. And "Beautiful Bride" belongs to the whole book. In fact, instead of saying "beautiful bride" it might as well say "black tree:" this is how I see the tree, thematically.

Beginning to Describe Alice (With Grey) - "Violet Hour" by Sea Wolf. Absolutely nothing to do with the lyrics (except maybe the chorus), simply the sound. There's something bittersweet, something soft and kind and yet slightly painful in this song. That's Alice and Grey. I listened to this song on repeat while first writing descriptions of their relationship.

Writing Some of the Chaos (and Then Healing) Along the Way - Fireflight in general. Songs like "The Hunger" help put me in the mindset of turmoil, while also keeping in mind that there is a solution. "Brand New Day" and "Wrapped in Your Arms" bring in that solution. "You Gave Me A Promise" and "Forever," as well.

More Middle to Later Stages - Emma Shapplin's Macadam Flower. Basically, during the bulk part of my writing (that is, when I was really focusing on adding to it), I switched between this album and Memento Mori. I get the sense, in many of these songs (about half are in English), that the speaker is walking next to an ocean. So that already reminded me of Section I. Emma Shapplin tends to focus on or at least reference nature imagery, often the wind. While I don't write much about wind, wind has that sense of softness plus chaos that I do like. So many of the songs on here helped me picture nature scenes and the emotions that can come up when we look at things in nature. "The Hours on the Fields," "My Soul," and "L'Absolu." "Sur L'Eau" comes more into a state of healing. These are the songs that feel more like the book, though I listened to the whole album.  "Jealously Yours" is probably my favorite track on the album and at first doesn't sound much like the book; but I think the pacing of it helped influence my writing and even some of the lyrics did, too. "You're not mine, I'm not yours, I'm back on my bones again." That's a sense of letting what's in the past stay in the past and moving on from it, which is something all three of my narrators learn to do.

The Very End (During Editing) - Ellie Goulding's Halcyon Days. I was almost done with the book by this point, just adding a couple of things here and there and along the way. But these songs helped me put on the finishing touches just as much as Divenire helped me start it. "My Blood" belongs to Abigail in particular. "Only You," "Figure 8," "Joy," "Explosions," "I Know You Care," and "Dead in the Water" are Julia's. "Hearts Without Chains" is for both Abigail and Julia. "How Long Will I Love You" I am now convinced is sung by Julia; to me, it is her song as much as "Circle" is Grey's. It is her declaration of love but also her way of letting go of that love's hold on her present life.

You can view the Spotify playlist here.

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