Youth in revolt: How music effects my writing

As Duke Orsino says in Shakespeare’s “As you Like It”: If music be the food of love, play on!” Music is as crucial to me and my writing as my keyboard or my pen. And with music, I go through phases where I’m in love with a particular type of music. Of late, that music has been a music most often associated with the younger crowds.

I’ve always enjoyed the punk scene. I was weened on the likes of MDC, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and more. The tone and theme was always youth in revolt — be it against politics, the system, or just the typical middletown dreams. I still like some good ol’ Ramones, or The Clash, but lately the taste has done a spot of migration toward the music of much of today’s rebellious youth.

I have to blame my youngest step-monster on this (a girl who happens to be one of the coolest teens I know), because she introduced me to the likes of Paramore, which then fed into a love for all sorts of music I never thought I’d enjoy.

  • Skillet
  • Fireflight
  • Yellowcard
  • Avril Livigne
  • Boys Like Girls
  • We The Kings

And much more.

But why am I writing about this on a blog that is mostly dedicated to my zombie and thriller stylings? I have always found that music is such a huge influence on my writing. And now, because of this influx of new, bouncy-punk music, my writing is enjoying a renewed youth…or at least the ability to more easily connect with characters that are, well, less than my age.

Just like when I was an actor, there is no better teacher (for me) than life itself. There is always something to learn — be it from other people, situations, and music. And what I am learning from all the scremo, punk-princess, and post-pop-punk music of the day is that not much has changed with the old youth-in-revolt. They still feel disassociated with adults, they don’t feel like they are part of the system, they are outcast, moody, and filled with the energy of life.

Sound familiar? I don’t know about you — but that was my youth. Of course my youth was spent in the ’80’s, with the likes of Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Devo, and The Fixx (still a huge fan there) and the films of John Hughs. I was as Pretty in Pink as any one else and could speak Valley fluently (Like, gag me with a spoon!) I related to Merritt Buttrick’s character (Johnny Slash) and Duckie more than anyone else, and Molly Ringwald should have known to come to my home town to find her truest love.

So now, what am I doing? Living my life vicariously through the music of today’s youth and the words in my books. And how can you not see the rebellious charm of words like:

Please speak softly

For they will hear us

And they’ll find out

Why we don’t trust them

From Paramore’s Conspiracy.

This music that holds a bitter-edged knife, resplendent with bedazzle jewels and hello kitty stickers, helps me to see that youth is more than just senseless moods and rage — it’s misunderstanding and adults out of touch with what made life so livable and loveable. And, yeah, sometimes it’s rebellion just for the sake of rebellion. It’s donning your Doc Martens and proclaiming:

I’m punker than you, so sod off!

Just for the sake of saying.

I some times envy the today’s youth. They have so much at their disposal that we never had. But, in other ways, I weep for this same disassociated youth for not having to struggle like we did in finding our way through the painful teenage years.

Ultimately though, I’m glad my step-monster introduced me to her experience. Seeing life through “brand new eyes” brings me a perspective I might not have ever had — and that, my friends, expands my vision.