Monday, 25 June 2012

Music to write to?

In general, I like things nice and quiet. I’m one of those people that can’t help but be distracted by things going on around me, if there is a car alarm going off in the street, or a woman walking in heels, or a neighbour doing refurbishments I tend to focus on the sounds, I count the steps of the woman, or the pattern of the siren or the strikes of the hammer. I can’t help it, I zone in on external noises and it distracts my thinking. However, even worse, is silence. I like to have something on in the background. Normally, I can have the radio on or as I’m writing this, a film. It has to be a film I have already seen though, one I know well enough so I don’t have to watch, just a nice mumbling going on in my periphery. When it comes to writing short stories it’s a bit different. I can’t work in silence but I can’t work while words are either being spoken or sung. The answer for me to is to listen to jazz and classical music. I’ve never had anything against that type of music but I’ve never been an expert either, but over the last few years I’ve really appreciated it. I’m able to focus on writing, think of words and phrases, without having them being put into my head. If I go somewhere, like the library or the coffee shop, then I’ll take my headphones. Sometimes I like the general noise of people around me, as long as I can’t hear their conversations clearly, if there are people chatting away at the top of their voices, then on go the headphones, if there are young kids rapping their cups on the tables, on go the headphones and if there is terrible muzak playing, then on go the headphones. That’s quite important actually, if there is a certain type of music playing, then it tends to move my emotions into that type of music too. So, if as tends to happen in coffee shops, there is slow melancholic soft acoustic music on, then my mind tends to start drifting towards melancholic sad thoughts and that reflects on what I write. The opposite works too, sometimes if I want to get across a strong and energetic emotion then I’ll put some heavier music on, Metallica isn’t too far from my side, and even though I tend to start ‘listening’ because there are words being sung the short period I listen to it for gives me the right energy. I’m no expert in the relationship between writing and music but I can vouch for its importance. The sense of verse, rhythm, alliteration, phrasing, the way emotion is portrayed in the voice, it all helps and feels linked. It’s different to inspiration, although it can work for that, the way I’m talking about it, to me it becomes more of a tool, a method to use to help with writing.

By the way, I have decided to write my blog once a week, I've got several dozen topics I want to talk about but there is no rush to get them all out at once. I need to allocate my time and make sure I am working on the next short story! 


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