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My novels do, anyway. These are songs I play to evoke a mood, a memory or simply to give myself a rhythm to write to.

Here are some of the songs on my Just Breathe playlist. Lots of road songs. Whether you like to play music while reading or writing, or if you simply like to relax and listen–enjoy!

“Breathe 2AM,” Anna Nalick. This inspired the title and set the mood for the entire book. Incredible song by a young woman with an old and shining soul.

And a few others…

I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” Aerosmith
“Unchained Melody,” The Righteous Brothers
Crazy For You,” Madonna
“Never Tear Us Apart,” INXS
In Your Eyes” Peter Gabriel
“Love Song,” The Cure
“Eternal Flame,” The Bangles
Come On,” Ben Jelen
“Fade Into You,” Mazzy Star
Faithfully,” Journey
Ruby Tuesday” and “Painted Black,” The Rolling Stones
“I’ll Be There For You,” Bon Jovi
Drive,” The Cars
Babe,” Styx
Save a Prayer,” Duran Duran

And okay, while looking up the links for these songs, I came across this shot of Journey in their parachute pants. Submitted without comment:

Lets hear it for parachute pants!

Let's hear it for parachute pants!

When this movie ended, everyone in the audience just sat there for a few minutes, trying to pull ourselves back together. As we filed out, still blubbering, the theatre manager said she’d seen it three or four times and fell apart at each viewing. 

“Under the Same Moon” is the story of Carlito, a Mexican boy who will do anything to be reunited with his mother, who is working in the U.S. It’s a classic hero’s-journey tale, but it also puts a beautifully-drawn human face on the immigration issue. My friend Carol and I are both working on novels that touch on the issue of immigration in some way, so we had the perfect excuse to play hooky.

From the perspective of writing craft, it’s my favorite kind of story. It features classic archetypes–the plucky, unstoppable kid you can’t help but root for, the cranky guy with a heart of gold, various mentors, allies and enemies along the way. In the best possible way, this movie doesn’t care what you think of the immigration issue. It just presents this one situation, knowing you’ll draw your own conclusions. I bet there are reviewers out there who despise this movie, the way there are critics who despise commercial fiction. Some people are so uncomfortable with genuine sentiment that they can’t possibly be fair about a film like this.

There is a class of movies I tend to file under “Films every American Should See.” There aren’t very many of them. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few–“Hoop Dreams,” “Glory,” “Apollo 13,” “The Color Purple,” and “October Sky” come to mind. “Under the Same Moon” belongs on that list. Go see this movie. It’ll stick with you for a long time, guaranteed.

Wishing everyone a joyous Cinco de Mayo!


Cell phone pics of Barkis’s first road trip:

Barkis in the backseat

eastern Oregon

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