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Dear Jukebox Writer
SSar's Beast
Dear writer, I am excited that I get to share these songs with you, and I am looking forward to what you will write.

In your fic, I'd prefer you avoid graphic harm to hands, memory loss treated lightly (no amnesia fics for me, please!), and stories about people experimenting with drugs or struggling with addictions. Also, zombie stories don't really appeal. With those caveats, pretty much anything is fair game. Tell your story in whatever tense or person you want to tell it; include whatever alignments of sexuality and gender you like (porn's fine! so's gen!); make it fluffy or angsty or funny or horrific as best pleases you. I love worldbuilding, stories that make use of the writer's specialist knowledge on obscure topics, and a keen sense of place or era. I love dialogue and description. I love lots of things. Check other journal entries tagged 'dear writer' if you would like more ideas.

The following prompts are only suggestions. If you already have an idea, run with it.

I Feel Possessed - Crowded House (Song)
She said I could never do that
But I know you can, you are in my dream
We are one person not two of a kind
And what was mine is now in your possession

A repeat request from last year. I love this song deeply. The characters referred to as "I", "you", and "she" have such a mysterious relationship; indeed it seems necessary to assume supernatural factors in order to untangle it. I love the moods in this song: wonder and awe are two that I get from it. If there really is a case of possession, it seems to be something the narrator wants, or has summoned, like an avatar rather than a demon or a ghost. And maybe there's nothing obviously magical or supernatural happening - maybe the narrator is just having experiences that challenge his or her idea of the real and the possible.

I also like this cover by Oh Mercy. (And not just because that video is SUCH an Auckland location. It could have been shot streets away from where I grew up.)

Big Science - Laurie Anderson (Song)
I think we should put some mountains here. Otherwise, what are all the characters going to fall off of?
And what about stairs?

Another repeat request. I love everything, EVERYTHING, about the opening dialogue; the way the directions to "town" unfold like a map in our heads until we get to the end, the punch line of "This must be the place", and we realise it's a not a map, it's a blueprint, and we are here. We have already arrived.

I don't know how to prompt a story for this song; I only know how to talk about how much I love it. Last time I suggested my writer might riff off some idea of progress narratives. You could do that? All of their promise, all of their dark underside. Maybe the embittered stranger is not a spy, but an itinerant construction worker. Maybe one of the "cities" is actually a Hollywood set, and that's why the narrator is talking about mountains for characters to fall from. I guess the only thing I'd say is: don't try to incorporate every single lyric or idea in one story. Pick and choose.

Stranger Song - Leonard Cohen (Song)
Youtube (with lyrics)
And while he talks his dreams to sleep
you notice there's a highway
that is curling up like smoke above his shoulder.

Such pretty, pretty lyrics. Though for me the prettiest, the lines that give me the most delight, are Let's meet tomorrow, if you choose/ Upon the shore, beneath the bridge/ That they are building on some endless river, followed by, and you say, okay, the bridge, or someplace later. I love those because they seem to reverse the usual certainty of geography and uncertainty of future - as though that moment of their reunion is more solid than its surroundings. And the "you" character's response seems deliberately noncommittal, lowering the expectations of the other speaker in a way that seems to speak to all of the verbal tricks he's playing. And someplace later - there we go again, there's that wonderful conflation of time and space.

I don't know much about poker. So use that exactly as much as you want to. I do love trains! I would prefer this story to have some grounding in a real place or time - despite the gorgeous metaphors - you try the handle of the road, it opens - what I guess I mean is, nitty-gritty non-fantasy would be great, and if you really like magic, I'd rather your story put manipulation and illusion and practical effects in the foreground, and put any supernatural elements in the background.

In some ways, I've requested "Stranger Song" and "Big Science" as a pair. They both have IMAGINED GEOGRAPHY (a thing I love too much to discuss except in allcaps), and they both have their strangers... but while Laurie Anderson's use of strangers and the strange seems to be about isolation, Leonard Cohen's strangers slide disconcertingly in and out of intimacy. I am not saying you must cross these songs over; I'm not even recommending that - I'm just saying I've thought about them a lot together, make of that what you will.

One More Cup of Coffee - Bic Runga (Song) (Bob Dylan cover)
Your pleasure knows no limits
Your voice is like a meadowlark
But your heart is like an ocean
Mysterious and dark.

I love Dylan singing it too, but the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra gives the song so much grandeur. What an epic! Your loyalty is... to the stars above ... what does it mean? And yet it's sketched out with such small details - the father's voice trembling, and of course the cup of coffee. One theory I have is that the speaker is a solitary traveller in the modern-day or at least at some point in the last few centuries, and he/she/? stumbles upon this mountain hideout, an isolated kingdom where magic works or something like that. But don't use that if you don't want to!

When Blackbirds Fly - Michael Franks (Song)
Lyrics (at my journal)
Let’s fly away
Into a sky full of stars
Swim in the rivers on Mars
Bring your dulcimer, I’ll bring my guitar

This is a strange little song - bittersweet and lovely. I love the combination of domesticity and fantasy, and the hints that the people involved are both creative and flawed - dreamers with a hint of disillusionment. Do you want to take it literally? Maybe this is a slightly-alternate Earth in which there's a call for volunteers to colonize Mars (a Mars with lots of water, apparently). And I find "make some babies" kind of a jarring phrase, but the First Family of Mars could be a charming story.

Or maybe that's just a story that the narrator is spinning for his/her/? lover (or other, secret lover??) as they lie in bed together. And why the death? Oh I don't know. Tell me!

Glorious Dawn - John Boswell ft. Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking (Song)
A still more glorious dawn awaits
Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way

Your SCIENCE FEELS, show them to me. Especially your physics, astronomy, and linguistic feelings, but feel free to substitute a field of science you feel passionate about.

Or take a traditional sci-fi theme about human exploration or the start of the universe and surprise me with how you remix it, in the spirit of this piece.

Crossovers with other songs in this exchange welcome.

And finally, because I saw someone do this last year and it seemed a neat idea: when you write your story, if there are any other songs that these ones remind you of, or if you use a writing playlist, please let me know what those songs are/were!

And for those of you on my friends list who are wondering what this is, Jukebox is my own exchange (preciousssss), year 2. It's a multi-fandom fanfic gift exchange where all the fandoms/canons are songs and music videos. You can find information about it here on Dreamwidth or here on LiveJournal or here on the Archive of our Own. (Or you can just ask me questions.) Sign-ups close at the end of the week.

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