CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Meet Singing Artist SALLY KLEIN O'CONNOR

I talk a lot about books here at the Café, and with good reason. I love to read. I’m a writer. Words make my heart throb. An original, fresh metaphor lingers in my mind for hours. And when I capture just the right word or phrase for my own prose, I can float for an entire day. I have a confession, though. Some of my best ideas, my most thought-provoking writing, has come because of music that inspired me. I haven’t really talked about that enough here.

My finished novel (which I am shopping) is set in the 1950s—my favorite music era. I used a few familiar titles in the novel, but more than that, it’s a feeling of the times—the birth of rock and roll, a time of change. This plays out in the journey my young character takes. And the title was inspired by the lyrics in an old Rod McKuen song. Without telling you more than that here, my point is that music plays a vital role in my writing. Music evokes emotion which triggers something creative in my brain. Or takes me to deep, evocative places of laughter, joy, or tears.

Mostly tears. Worship songs with the words glory or nail-scarred hands or old rugged cross tug at my heart each time I hear them, but I also am moved by golden oldies on TV commercials or the radio. Sometimes a jazz number digs deep and uncovers the desire to dance in the kitchen with my hubby (oh the joy!). I believe we were created to respond to the melodic as well as the spoken word. It touches something within our very souls. I simply cannot imagine a church service without music, a world with song. Like words, it is a universal communicator and link to other human beings.

At Mount Hermon earlier this month, hymns, choruses, and special music played a daily part in connecting people of diverse backgrounds through worship. One day at lunch, a woman I’d never heard of was introduced and took her place at the grand piano. She adjusted the mike boom and began playing an unfamiliar song. The artist?
Sally Klein O’Connor. The song? Come Meet The Author of Life. The lyrics and the lilting melody, touched with the haunting message of mercy and the welcoming arms of God, brought a lump in my throat as well as the usual tears. By the end of the song, the air seemed thick with the presence of God. No words were needed as those of us at our lunch table made eye contact, an unspoken agreement that we were touched by the fresh, transparent performance of a woman who, without a doubt, had met the Author of life. She has an amazing life story that is reflected in her songs.

Later, I purchased one of Sally’s CDs in the bookstore (available
here) and have since spent several pleasant listening hours. The songs pierce the heart with words and melodies so beautiful they almost hurt. That’s what I want my writing to do. Touch hearts. Make someone smile or forget for a moment the troubles of this world. And thanks to artists like Sally, who bring music to life, I have an endless stream of inspiration.

How about you? Do you have a special song or favorite artist that inspires you? That makes you want to write heart-wrenching prose or just be a better person? I’d love to hear from you.


Digging for Pearls said...

I love to write.

I am in the process of researching for a book I would like to write that addresses ten struggles that Christian women face. I would love to have your input as well.

Thank you for any help you can give me. All I need is the list of ten things as well as your age. Thank you!

Myra Johnson said...

Dang. I posted a comment yesterday and it got lost in cyberspace.

Just wanted to say I really enjoyed "Author of Life" too. Fantastic lyrics for a writers conference! Since you bought the last CD in the conference bookstore, it's good to know where I can find it later. ;>)

Anonymous said...

Hi Carla,

Not sure if I met you at the conference or not. But Michael steered me to your blog about our song. I was honored that God used the song to touch so many. I am always amazed!! Thanks for encouraging both of us!!!