Tracy James Jones was raised between Dallas and Waxahachie, Texas, and considers both cities home. At Navarro College Jones majored in Journalism with a minor in Mass Communication. Before college, Jones worked as an actor with the local Community Theater, and as an extra and stand-in for feature films. As a freelance writer and novelist, Jones has written several college introductory letters, other contract writing projects, newspaper articles, and three published novels. Jones’ literary portfolio includes a screenplay adaptation of an original fiction novel, Searching For Eden. Recent release, Secrets & Lies (and the new sequel, Secrets & Lies 2 — A Family Affair) is a multicultural romantic drama which is also being formatted for film.
Here is Tracy’s story. Enjoy, and welcome, Justin
Growing up shy, as far back as I can remember I have always been observant of people around me. I’ve always had a fascination regarding how they reacted in all sorts of situations. I love human emotions. It’s like if someone smiled, I always felt compelled to smile back, or if someone were sad, I felt sad with them. This compassion I have for others is often reflected in my work because it breathes life into my characters. I like that. It’s an important factor to my creativity. I’m inspired by the totality of life, people in general, and everything that makes up human individuality. It also speaks to the kind of person I believe I am.
Ahhhh, Music! I have had a love affair with music for my entire life. As a matter fact, my dad once told me that when I was a toddler my favorite song on the radio was (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. He never said I was able to sing along, but there was something about that tune that made me a happy baby. I guess that is about the best place I can start.
During my lifetime, music has changed a lot, but there are certain songs, groups, and choirs that remain a part of my soul. To the surprise of many, my musical taste is eclectic or eccentric, depending on whom you ask, because I could never settle on just one genre or style. My interest ranges from Gospel to R&B. Throw in some Pop, Rock, Classical, Instrumental, and the list goes on. One thing that I have pinned down about my favorite music, outside of Gospel, is the songs that speak of love. Love songs have always been an inspiration to me because I feel the emotions in the words and music. Love songs give life to my creativity as it feeds my spirit. Weird as that may sound, when I free myself to the music, there are no barriers to the deepest emotions for anything I write.
That being said, having to choose a short list of music that feeds my creativity will be a bit of a task. I rarely ever love a whole Album or CD. Most often it has been only a few singles. I have a mixed selection of favorites I like to play. Between my lifetime of experiences and a real world which is full of dramatic issues as well as atrocities, there are many choices to weave into a story. However, when it comes to being able to express love, I need some inspiration. Below is a list of artists and music that take me where I want to go.
Judy Garland – Somewhere Over the Rainbow
For fun I am going to start this with Judy Garland singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Come on — who has not been inspired by this song? Can you not envision the possibilities through your mind’s eye with this song in your heart? I truly believe this was first song to ever bring my creative imagination into the light. I can still see my young self glued to the TV, watching with wonder at the world that she was singing about. It’s still a classic. Always will be.
Musiq Soulchild – Love from the album Aijuswanaseing
Musiq Soulchild is a young black artist I just recently found. The song Love speaks directly to love personified. In the song, the artist shares his views, specifically how it feels and how so many people abuse the privilege of love. It makes the listener ask questions. What does love mean to me? How real are my emotions? These are important questions for characters to face in regards to their relationships.
BetteMidler – P.S. – I Love You from the motion picture soundtrack For The Boys.
Bette Midler is without a doubt a beautiful singer with the most amazing voice. There are so many songs by her that are great. What stands out, to me, in the love category is the wartime number/song P.S. – I Love You performed in the movie For The Boys. I can always picture her in that scene and the emotion the song stirred in the audience. It warms my spirit to the core because it is about keeping the love strong at home while our loved ones are away at war. It was powerful enough to make me want to write a letter to the troops.
Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone
Micheal Jackson – no explanation needed for who he is, was, and always will be. Though he has many hit tunes, the song You Are Not Alone is the one for me. That song played an important part in writing my book Torn in regards to a friendship and an emotional love affair between two people who promised to always be there for each other. They discovered a little too late what their deepest feelings were for one another. Love like that, is the sweetest love of all.
Celine Dion – Then You Look At Me from the motion picture soundtrack Bicentennial Man
Celine Dion is so amazing in everything she sings. Today, maybe, a lot of people are holding on for dear life to the song from the Titanic movie as their favorite, My Heart Will Go On. While that is a good song, Then You Look At Me, is the most beautiful to me. Why? Because the idea that someone can look at you and you know a love without any words spoken is powerful. For me to show such emotion in my writing, this song helps brings it all to the surface. I don’t have to guess this because I have been told several times that my characters come alive through my dialogue and action, and that is found by listening to songs like this.
Melissa Manchester – Through The Eyes Of Love from the motion picture soundtrack Ice Castles
Melissa Manchester – I don’t even remember when I first heard her sing or where I was at that point in my life. I can say that the song Through The Eyes of Love from the movie Ice Castles made me cry. I guess I can say that being reminded of the teenager in me, I can tap into the emotions of looking through the eyes of love for the first time and I relive that level of emotion in some of my characters. Everyone should know that kind of love. Everyone.
Thomas Newman – Whispers of a Thrill from the motion picture soundtrack Meet Joe Black
Thomas Newman’s Whispers of a Thrill is an instrumental from the movie soundtrack for Meet Joe Black. There is something very erotic about the music that I can practically feel while listening to it. It has a soft, sensuous melody that tingles the emotional senses with a touch of excitement, overwhelming joy, and, of course, a passion so real you can almost taste it. Without a doubt, this music is ideal for writing a romantic love scene. Extreme Intellectual stimulation. Trust me.
Barbra Streisand – Yentl, the motion picture soundtrack
Barbra Streisand – Ah yes. I have found one Album/CD that I love from beginning to end. The soundtrack to the movie Yentl. Every song is filled with strong emotions and inspiration. I can say this because when I had to write my first speech, I chose the song This Is One Of Those Moments for a part of the opening line. While writing, I pick The Way He Makes Me Feel and Will Someone Ever Look At Me That Way? Do I really need to explain?
George Strait – So Much Like My Dad from the motion picture soundtrack Pure Country
George Strait – Is one of my all-time favorite country music singers. I discovered him not much before his film debut in the movie Pure Country and I fell in love with his music and the words to his songs. I still have a lot of his music on mp3, and one song in particular will stick with me for the rest of my life. The song So Much Like My Dad was the signature song for my then boyfriend, a bona fide cowboy, who would play it whenever I was really mad at him. In a nutshell, the song is about a guy who has messed up his relationship and he asks his mom what his father would say to her, word for word, to always make her stay. In the end it always worked and I always took him back. I get teary just thinking about it because the heartbreak of that relationship is that he passed away. All these years later, I still love him and the song too.
Whitney Houston is another voice that will forever inspire me to reach for my dreams. As a fan of hers from the moment she hit the music scene, there has always been inspiration in her music. For this I will mention her giving voice to the gospels: Jesus Loves Me, is a song I have loved and sung since childhood along with I Look To You. Both are inspirational songs for your mind, body, and soul. They are especially important in times when I feel lost or totally beat down by the world. I know I can turn to these songs to lift my spirits and return a sense of joy to my entire being. The gospels, as I mentioned before, have always been with me. Though I am not one to stand on a pedestal and preach, I do know that without my Christian upbringing, I would not have made it this far. Gospel music will always be the ultimate inspirations for anything I do.
So, there you have it, Justin, and others interested in how music links to my creative muse and feeds into my life and soul. I hope I have made it absolutely clear what inspires and motivates me and my writing: love. It reflects the deepest part of me and it shows in my writing, be it poetry, novels, short stories, or even a couple of songs of my own. Others may view my musical muse as sad or depressing at times; that is part of love too. Love is many things to many different people. Music and love, and all the emotions that come with both, are everything to me. I hope it shows.
Thank you Tracy. I cannot wait to listen once more to your picks, to see if my muse can dance with yours. I notice several movie soundtracks in your list, something that is different and very interesting. You said you appeared in films as an extra. I love that. The scores and motion picture soundtracks shed light on many different people, their relationships on screen, and help an audience stay motivated to continue watching the film.
Best always, and stop by anytime,
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