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It Rubs the Lotion On Its Skin... Despacito

We writers love to talk about the soundtracks we listen to as we write. Romance writers listen to love songs. Writers of fantasy or real medieval times listen to ancientfm.com. (Try it, it's awesome.) While I wrote The Grove of Thorismud, I listened to that, plus a whole lot of Rammstein mixed with Dead Can Dance, Anonymous 4's 1000: A Mass for the End of Time, and The Tea Party (a gamer-dork Canadian rock band that plays Led Zeppelin riffs on Middle Eastern instruments and has refused to sell the teaparty.com domain name to the American political movement, even for a cool million--rock on, old dudes).

For my new work in progress, Matka Danu Miklagarth, I mostly listen to nothing but early-morning nature sounds from the open window next to my writing desk. (Ahh, so nice.) When I do put on music to drown out construction noise or whatever, I use things like the Vikings TV show soundtrack or something else that nods to the different ethnic backgrounds of the characters I'm writing and the cultural regions through which they are traveling.

Absolutely none of my characters or settings are Puerto Rican, but a song that keeps coming up while I work (to appease the elementary schoolgirls in my house) is "Despacito." Happily, they do not require the Bieber remix. No offense to Canada, of course, or even the Biebs--nice job on this recording, young man, but I'm here for Luis Fonsi. And so are these particular little girls, because all they want is to sing nonsense syllables along with the Spanish chorus.

I just impressed the heck out of a third grader because not only do I know what "Despacito" is, I know what the Spanish words mean. I told her "Despacito" means "Slowly" and that the song is about slow dancing. That's kind of true, right? Anyway, that's all I'm going to say about it, because those other words are strictly for "Mami."

Good luck finding a decent translation online. I have not found one that is both accurate and not ham-fisted. But do ask a Spanish-speaking friend who isn't shy, and proceed with caution. Muy caliente.

One of my favorite stanzas is:

Despacito
Quiero desnudarte a besos despacito
Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto
Y hacer de tu cuerpo todo un manuscrito

which translates to:

Slowly
I want to undress you with kisses, slowly
Write my name on the walls of your labyrinth
And make of your entire body a manuscript

Damn. Not only is that smoking hot, it makes my hairs stand on end for a different reason--it reminds me of the Peter Greenaway film The Pillow Book, named after the famous personal diary of Heian court lady Sei Sh┼Źnagon. Greenaway's film is gorgeous and iconic and has a soundtrack / soundscape of chilling genius. But I watched this film the way I try to always watch artistic films--knowing nothing about it in advance--so it gave me a real shock at the end, when it shifted from a superbly calligraphic love story in multiple alphabets to a horror plot that is basically about two Buffalo Bills fighting over the skin suit. I know I'm spoiling it, but watch this movie if you are interested in seeing Ewan McGregor not just regular naked but stripped of his very skin, like Robbie Williams in the "Rock DJ" video. *retching*

Anyway, the "Despacito" phenomenon this summer has been psychically disturbing to my writing process, which I think is actually adding a special sauce to my story. I've always enjoyed dark and disturbing elements in my entertainment, and one of my characters is definitely turning out to be a seductive, multi-lingual serial killer.

I promise, however, that my novel will not end with the killer brainwashing the main character and taking her to the opera. Mostly because my story takes place 600 years before the opera was invented, but also because my beloved high school English teacher said that was a terrible way to end a good story, and I believe him.

And now if you'll excuse me, I have a terrible case of "Rock DJ" stuck in my head, and I need to go turn up the Fonsi.

Sube sube sube sube sube...

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