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[personal profile] minutia_r
Dear Jukebox DJ,

Hi there! May I compliment you on either your excellent taste in music or your willingness to try something new and write fic about it, or both? In any case, I’m really looking forward to reading what you come up with.

(I've only requested fic for my main gift, but I would be thrilled to receive art treats as well! Podfic is not really my thing, so if you're thinking, "I would like to make a nice thing for Minutia, I wonder what she'd like?" the answer is probably not "Podfic"--but if you're thinking "I have been seized with inspiration by one of these prompts, I must do a podfic for it, it is my artistic vision, but wouldn't it be weird to gift podfic to someone who just said she doesn't like podfic?" then the answer is that I will be very flattered and listen to it and probably like it.)



A few things that apply to all of the songs, before I get to individual prompts:

I don’t expect you to treat every line of the song as canon the way you might for a book or TV show. If you want to do a close reading of the text, that’s cool! If some phrase or image or mood from the song suggests a story to you, then run with that and don’t worry too much about contradicting or fitting the rest of the song in around it--and especially don’t worry about the prompts in this letter, which are really just there to give you ideas in case you’re stuck.

I like stories with speculative elements best. I’m a big fan of the power of science fiction and fantasy to concretize metaphors, so if you’re listening to the song and wondering, “Is this line meant literally or figuratively? Figuratively, right?” you will make me very happy by going for the literal interpretation.

Many of these songs are kind of dark to one degree or another. I welcome dark fic--including character death, violence, consent issues sexual or otherwise, bleak dystopias, and trauma of all kinds--although if your muse takes you to a warm and fluffy place instead, I will love that too.

I have finally reached gender parity with my vocalists this year! However, the same disclaimer as previous years applies--I don't expect the character in the story who corresponds to the narrator of the song (if there is one) to have the same gender as the vocalist. Go with what you think would make a more interesting story, not with what the singer’s voice sounds like. (Except Oleander, I would rather you kept that one f/f if you write it.)

Did You Sleep Well - Crooked Still
YouTube with lyrics

Things I want to know include: why did the narrator spend all night in the hall, rather than either leaving or coming in? Is she a ghost? What’s the significance of the picture of the forest through the dimly lit smoke? What were the two voices talking about?

Please write me anything about these three (four?) people(?), their complex relationship, and their strange magical powers/natures.

Gintlemen's Club - The Dreadnoughts
YouTube | lyrics

Okay, so I realize this song is actually about drowning one’s sorrows in gin. But it could be about a secret society in a gritty, steampunky London which serves a goddess or other lady with supernatural powers? Some of the turns of phrase are so sharp and evocative--the juniper and water will lead you from the slaughter or when you'll all be nipping at your cages--I’d love to see what you make of them.

Kingdom of Gold - Mark Knopfler
YouTube | lyrics

Is the High Priest of Money heroic or paranoid (or both?) Does he vanquish the pack of dog jackals and the rabble of ravens with the power of economic analysis? Is the Kingdom of Gold a nice place to live? Tell me more.

Lawyers Guns & Money - Warren Zevon
YouTube with lyrics

I want the story of the waitress who is also a Russian agent! What’s her mission? Is the narrator really as innocent a dupe as they claim? (Yes is a perfectly acceptable answer.) Does she manage to make her escape and leave the narrator in the soup; does she also wind up in trouble that she needs her ingenuity to get out of; or does she come back to rescue the narrator when their dad’s lawyers, guns, and money can’t? Or some other possibility I haven’t thought of?

Long Steel Grass (Noche Espagnola) - Edith Sitwell and William Walton
song (starts at 2:50; what comes before is another song from the same suite. Sorry, this was the best link I could find.) | lyrics

So according to the link with the lyrics above, Edith Sitwell said this was about a couple of cats having a love affair, which I guess is as good interpretation as any other. There is definitely some kind of courtship as battle or battle as courtship going on here, on a weird and epic scale which brings to mind space opera or the faerie court. I’m particularly (though not exclusively) interested in the white soldiers--what does a grunt’s-eye view of this conflict and/or reproductive process look like?

Blackbirds - Erin McKeown
YouTube | lyrics

Are . . . the king and queen of blackbirds being ritually sacrificed in some sort of unspeakable speakeasy jazz age ritual? Or are they just having a drugged-out hookup after a dance party? Is this a courtship ritual where a riddle game meets a rap battle?

Oleander - Sarah Harmer
YouTube | lyrics

Is the narrator of this song singing to a woman, or to a houseplant? If you just look at the words, it might be a houseplant--but it's a houseplant she's got weirdly intense feelings towards. I like to think that this is the story of a human woman and her nature-spirit ex-girlfriend who she would like to get back together with. I like the sense that the narrator has realized and learned from the mistakes that she made the first time around, and would be interested in either a happy or bittersweet ending.

Run Away - Sarah Jarosz (Song)
YouTube | lyrics

Is the place that the couple is running away to on Earth--or is it somewhere else? Fairyland or outer space? Are they undead? How and why did the narrator bury her heart in a willow tree, and how and why did the love interest bring it back?



I hope you find something that inspires you in this letter, but if these songs take you in a completely different direction, I’d be thrilled to read that too. Thank you, happy writing, and I hope you get a lovely story/art/podfic as well!

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