Author Playlists

Jane V. Blunschi’s Playlist for Her Novella “Mon Dieu, Love”

“Most of my work is about obsession. If I had to identify the prevailing mood and motivation of the characters in Mon Dieu, Love, it is this sort of simmering, low-grade longing for something they’ve never experienced – a fantasy of romantic relationships that are stable and wild, risky and cozy, and secure and challenging all at once.”

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Jane V. Blunschi’s novella Mon Dieu, Love is an unforgettable book about queer love, friendship, and family.

Renee Gladman wrote of the book:

“Jane V. Blunschi’s Mon Dieu, Love is a novel of queer love and entanglement that astonishes with its capacity to both disturb and endear. Inside a world, where characters make ethically dubious choices, somewhat repeatedly, I find myself rooting for their recoveries and willing them to reconfigure their dreams for the future. It is a surprising, sometimes uncomfortable, often funny, deeply nuanced journey that binds your attention until its end. A magnetic debut.”

In her own words, here is Jane V. Blunschi’s Book Notes music playlist for her novella Mon Dieu, Love:

I divided this playlist into two parts:

  1. Music the characters in Mon Dieu, Love listen to in the course of the novella.
  2. Music I listened to over and over again when I was writing, mostly in the Spring and late Summer of 2021.


No Surrender by Bruce Springsteen and The Apartment Song by Tom Petty

Have you ever made a Target run with someone who stomped on your heart?  They came and picked you up at your house and took you to get tampons and dish soap while they bought snacks for the person for whom they left you? And you agreed to that because your heart was, I’ll say again, stomped-on, so maybe your judgement and self-respect were temporarily on do-not-disturb?

Listen: if you find yourself in this position, you’ll need something to fill the awkward, resentment-and-longing-filled silence on the car ride there and back.

These two songs set the mood and break the tension in a chapter named for the Petty tune.

A Loving Feeling by Mitski

Here is a song you can play while rage-exercising about your break up. Do you know that expression, “don’t treat someone like a priority if they’re treating you like an option”? I know you’ve seen a meme or something, right? I like the jangly bounce of the guitar set against lyrics that speak to the experience of settling for being treated any old way. It feels hopeful in an unexpected way, like the speaker is alllllllllmost done with that b.s. relationship. I want that to be true, at least. Like, give them the keys to the street, honey!

Nothing Compares 2 U and Take Me with U by Prince

I had COVID during the time I was writing the second half of Mon Dieu, Love. I could barely send an email or walk up the stairs in my apartment, but I could write like a wild woman. Maybe having a low-grade fever minimized my creative inhibitions? Who knows! It was a scary and very productive time.

There is a soupçon of nonreality in the story, connected to religion and spirituality. Lots of scenes are set in a church, including a tiny chapel set aside for Eucharistic adoration. In one of those scenes, a character is meditating in the chapel, listening to these two songs on headphones when one of those moments of nonreality occurs.  It is unsettling and stupefying, but I did give them the comfort and company of Prince to see them through.

An aside: I am a huge fan of the Sinéad O’Connor cover of Nothing, but there is something spine-tingling-ly wonderful about the way Prince sings, “I could put my arms around every girl I see/but they’d only remind me of you.” Dang! Yes! Check it out.

Hold Me & Tusk by Fleetwood Mac

File under: songs on every jukebox in every bar, ever, including one in which almost all of the characters in the novella are in the same room (a bar) at the same time. I think it turned out really well. More than two people in a scene in the same place? At the same time? Talking to each other? I was pretty excited about the milestone of creative growth that this represents.

Heart Like a Wheel by Linda Ronstadt & Graceland by Paul Simon

Writing about divorce is so satisfying.  Not a breakup: a divorce. I strongly identify as a divorcee and these are my go-to writing-about-divorce records (just not my divorce, because I agreed not to do that in my *say it with me* divorce agreement).

 I allow my characters to be desperate for love and romance so that I don’t have to be, and they walk around in a state between Everybody sees you’re blown apart! And, When will I be loved?! for most of the book. They’re never satisfied. I love them.


I Wish it Would Rain & Anything You Need but Me by Nanci Griffith

Nanci Griffith passed away when I was deep into the writing process, late in the Summer of 2021. Her face and voice were all over social media, and Austin City Limits posted a video tribute to her appearances on the show. In the first of those appearances, she’s wearing this incredible yellow flowered dress that she made herself. What a badass.

These two songs were in the heaviest rotation for me at that time for different reasons. The way she sings the “when the diamonds fall, darlin’…” at the end of I Wish it Would Rain gives me instant frissons, so that’s an easy one.

Anything You Need but Me speaks to the kind of kiss-my-ass attitude I wish for one of the characters in Mon Dieu, Love, the hot, sensitive, very good but awfully codependent Jody. I want to write a whole book about Jody – she’s the first character I made up when I started taking myself seriously as a writer. I mean, this song speaks to the aspirations I have for my own emotional life. To be able to say to someone who has hurt you or taken you for granted, “You can have anything on Earth you need/anything on Earth you need but me” – that’s freedom. That’s a slam-dunk.

I Want You to Love Me by Fiona Apple

Most of my work is about obsession. If I had to identify the prevailing mood and motivation of the characters in Mon Dieu, Love, it is this sort of simmering, low-grade longing for something they’ve never experienced – a fantasy of romantic relationships that are stable and wild, risky and cozy, and secure and challenging all at once. I’m not saying it is impossible to have a romance like that, but it’s kind of a tall order, no? When I was working my way through the scenes where real tension and elation and possibility and pain were bouncing off one another, I’d listen to the part of this song that goes:

“And while I’m in this body
I want somebody to want
And I want what I want
And I want

To love me

Whenever I did this, I was able to drop into that raw, electrified place and write to a place where the characters were experiencing emotions that were exquisitely painful and pleasurable at the same time, and making horrible and sometimes horribly funny choices in response.

Goodbye to You by Scandal

Honestly, this book was almost called Could I Ever Love Someone Like the One I See in You? (NOBODY STEAL THAT! I might still want it for the next one). It’s certainly one of the central questions in each of my characters’ minds as they navigate their way out of the emotional messes they’ve made for themselves, bless.

Jane V. Blunschi holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Arkansas. She was a 2014 Lambda Literary Emerging Voices fellow, and her collection of stories, Understand Me, Sugar, was published in 2017 by Yellow Flag Press. Jane’s Pushcart Prize-nominated work has appeared in Paper Darts, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Foglifter, among others. Originally from Louisiana, Jane lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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