Soundtrack Monday: Wondering Where the Lions Are

Welcome to another edition of Soundtrack Monday! We’re doing this song again, because last time was just a short skim.

Plus, I was looking at old book soundtracks this morning, and came across Carcajou, which is what I wanted Weasel Boy to be titled. (Even I understood Weasel Boy wouldn’t be quite be, uh, romantic.) It eventually ended up as Taken, which was all right… but in my heart, it will always be Weasel Boy.

And one of the first songs on the soundtrack is Bruce Cockburn’s Wondering Where the Lions Are. Cockburn excels at finding warmth and gentleness even in the worst of situations. (He also did the fantastic If I Had a Rocket Launcher, which is not gentle but is very understandable.)

Much of Zach’s tension and growth in Weasel Boy comes from him finding out where his particular lions are, so to speak. He knows what he has to do, he’s just… afraid. When you know that your anger literally will not let you stop until you’re dead or victorious, you learn a healthy respect for that anger–and an unwillingness to let it rule you. This is at the heart of many (though not all, by any means) modern werewolf or shifter stories, a lesson quite unlike their “original” meanings.1

I’ve often held that werewolf and vampire stories, like many myths, are somewhat blank screens for us to project our own cultural anxieties onto, and they survive in direct proportion to how well they adapt to that projection.

Which is why they’re so much fun to work with, frankly.

Anyway, Wondering Where the Lions Are is a beautiful song, and even though Cockburn probably wouldn’t like the use I put it to, it’s fabulous material. I suspect he might think it’s a serious song meant for serious things instead of for a romance novel, but there are plenty of serious themes in romance novels, even this one.2

Zach knew he was strong enough, that wasn’t the problem. He suspected he wasn’t gentle enough, and the tension in the song between living in a war zone (polished and precise like the mind behind the gun should be…) and finding a moment of beauty and clarity (But some kind of ecstasy’s got a hold on me…) resonated with both me and the imaginary hero inside my head.

Anyway, I could natter on forever about the mythological, psychological, and musical underpinnings of Weasel Boy, but there’s work to be done and more stories to tell. Enjoy the tune, and have a lovely holiday Monday.

Soundtrack Monday: Wondering Where the Lions Are

Taken

Just what do you play to get into the mood when you’re writing a were-wolverine? For me, it was Bruce Cockburn’s Wondering Where the Lions Are, which I played somewhat obsessively while writing Taken.

Longtime Readers will remember Taken‘s working title was Weasel Boy, since Zach (the hero-of-sorts) travels with his very small family of were-wolverines, doing odd jobs, until an upir attack introduces them to Sophie. It’s actually Eric, one of the cousins, who’s a Bruce Cockburn fan, and the song really has no relation to the book other than the mention of lions and the singer’s desire to melt into a beloved. It being Cockburn, of course, there’s also an undercurrent of social justice.

It being a Monday (and what a Monday, I’m down with the flu and shivering with fever while I type) I might as well give a two-fer; in the beginning of Taken, when Sophie and Lucy are getting ready for their night on the town, what should be playing but the Pretenders’ Brass in Pocket, that anthem of girls’ night out everywhere? You can probably even hear an echo of it in Lucy’s dialogue.

Enjoy! And I hope your Monday is better than mine–or at least, less feverish.