A Poor Man’s Score

In the summer of 1962, while watching the Cinerama epic How the West Was Won, I was captivated by the music. Composed by Alfred Newman, “one of the three godfathers of film music,” this big-screen score opened my senses to the emotional power of music in film.

In my first novel, The Spectacle of Let — the Oliet and Obit, I tried to create an emotive geography and sense of place; a feeling and sentiment of being somewhere once, then again and again. Many writers create this feeling with words alone. While I wrote I wanted music — an emotional landmark, a musical score — familiar melodies that transported me to my literary home each time I returned to the wanting manuscript. So it was that I became a curator of an instrumental playlist, “a poor man’s score,” to accompany my written words.

Some compositions I associate with my enigmatic heroine, the elusive beauty, Niva Miramontes; others, like those by composer Javier Navarrate, with a deep sense of being alone, lost in the beauty and fear of writing and discovery. All of them together lend another emotional measure and force to the written word. They remind me of the moment I saw James Stewart galloping his big pony over the Rocky Mountains, determined to concur the West, accompanied by the panoramic majesty of Alfred Newman and his orchestra. You can find the playlist, entitled The Spectacle of Let, here on Spotify.