"I was listening to First Aid Kit’s “In The Hearts of Men” while trying to write dialogue in a short story I'm revising about a woman out in search of Shakers. I had it on repeat for about an hour while I was writing. Its kind of a sad story I’m writing, a bit tragic: a relatively manic folklorist graduate student goes in search of authentic Shakers, thinking she can bring some order back into the world by recording lost Hymns from the notoriously rigorous (and abstinent) 19th century religion. The scene I was writing is when this researcher sits down with a very old woman in a trailer in Kentucky. She thinks the ancient lady is an old Shaker when really she is a truck driver’s widow. I was trying to write the conversation where the old woman goes along with being a Shaker because she is lonely for company and also because she can’t stand to disappoint the young researcher. I wrote about 2 pages of dialogue in the time I was listening to “Hearts of Men”, then put it aside.
When I came back to the story a couple days later I found that my character’s dialogue was entirely too tender. It was a lingering ethereal mess. Everything they said had ellipses after it, the standard fallback in mediocre fiction (and text messaging apparently) when you want to express the ineffable but lack the words (or the goods). And the dialogue floated along like this for the whole two pages, never coming to any discernible crescendo or moving the plot along in any meaningful way. As fiction it was a mess, but as a monument to the song’s subconscious power it was exceptionally lovely. It's a good song for being carried away, for being put on repeat, maybe it's a great song for watching pigeons or walking home in the fog. But, given my experience, It's not a good song to write to, unless of course you are writing unsent letters to ex-girlfriends. It's a perfect song for that. I say give it a listen (or twenty). " - Words by Aaron
"In The Hears of Men" is off their new album The Lion's Roar. ENjO!