Friday Music & Carolina

Firstly, context:

I big part of any literary thing I do, whether it’s writing, reading, or editing, is the music I listen to. When I write, for example, often whatever I’m listening to will influence the voice or style of the piece. Or, when I read, I like something without lyrics to provide a white noise in the background.

So, in the same way I post a quote from a writer to get the week rolling, I will post a song on Friday to round the week out. Sometimes the song will be posted with some writing for context, and sometimes it may just whatever I’ve been listening to a lot of.

Either way, I’ll leave you, this Friday, with one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists, “Carolina in My Mind” by James Taylor.


Lately, I’ve begun work on a chapbook that will focus on the theme of Place. I want to try to get into the space between setting and Place, and determine at what point the location a character simply exists in becomes Place (capital “P” included).

This song is an example of the kind of “Place” I’m looking for. To James Taylor, Caroline isn’t just a geographic location, it’s something more. It is a place in the world relevant to who he is, and it makes his song meaningful in the same way it would be if it were about a person.

I know I don’t have many followers, but all the same, I’d like your feedback. How would you define Place? Or, maybe a little deeper of a question, is there a place meaningful to you in the same way? Where?


About jekcarter

Farmer/Writer/Editor/Advocate for the Imaginary
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5 Responses to Friday Music & Carolina

  1. lindseyriley says:

    There’s a place that is meaningful to me in a similar way to James Taylor and Carolina, and that place is the city of Chicago. My family and friends are there, I grew up there, and it’s the only place I call home. When I’m at Ball State, I get homesick often just because of the extreme differences in environment. Muncie is in no way like Chicago and after growing up for 18 years in the bright lights of a major city, it’s hard to be away. Concrete vs. Corn fields…..I would rather have the concrete! I came to Ball State because I fell in love with the journalism program and later with the creative writing program. I can study those same subjects in Chicago and be happy with the place, but I wouldn’t be happy with what I’m doing in that place. Right now in life, I would rather be happy with what I am doing knowing that I’ll be home soon.

    • jekcarter says:

      I can sympathize, though in kind of a reverse way. Even though I’m from the Muncie area, I grew up outside of the city in the country, so living in a dorm in town is really weird for me. I’ve had this conversation with friends from Chicago and Indy before, and it’s always made me laugh that both of us find living in Muncie odd, but from different ends of the spectrum. They think it’s too dark, I think it’s too bright. They think it’s too small, I think it’s too big. They think there’s nothing to do, I think there’s tons to do.

      This is the part of Place that I really love: seeing how the settings that we, as characters, come from help create us as characters.

  2. Austin Hayden says:

    maybe not your thing, but this is a powerful song that will get anyone writing:

    • jekcarter says:

      Closer to my thing than you’d think, I like it, thanks! And I definitely see what you mean, with music that flows like this, it’s hard not to begin creating images and narratives.

  3. Cathy Day says:

    Haven’t listened to it in years, but when I lived in NJ and would drive back to Indiana a lot (11 hours) I listened to Lucinda Williams’ CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD, esp. “Lake Charles” and “Jackson.” To me, the “more” you’re looking for comes when characters offer us glimpses of what they’re feeling inside. It’s not about details of place, although those help. It’s about emotions.

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