Does music get you writing?
What else do you need to blog-on?
While traversing through the Blogosphere today, I came across the blog of one Khoi Vinh, a veteran blogger of over 6 years whose site is called http://www.subtraction.com/. Mr. Vinh is a well-known graphic artist who currently works as Design Director for NYTimes.com. After a brief perusal of his biography (It makes me feel more acquainted with the creator) I had a quick look through his wide range of categories he’s written about previously, and of course I had to click on the link for ‘weblogs’. Dropping down through the atmosphere of his 51 ‘weblog’-based posts my eyes came to rest on the long green grass-covered runway of this little title: ‘Music for blogging: What do you write when you listen to music in the Blogosphere?’ written on April 18, 2006.
This got me thinking…so. I’m not the only one who needs some melody beating down on the ear drums of inspiration to get the creative writing process flowing. I then had a bit of a read. Khoi likes listening to the ‘dissonant and amorphus sound structures’ of an album called ‘Quique’ by a little-known English quartet named ‘Seefeel’. When I say ‘likes’ I shall say that he literally needs to listen to this particular music to be able to write at all. Our human brains are weird. We get into patterns when we do things don’t we? (He asks readers to talk about what devices they use to get their figurative pen’s ink flowing.)
I’ve never heard of Seefeel, there’s a lot of music from this small rock of ours. There’s one thing that you can honestly say about humanity, we like to rock and or roll, jazz it up, and beat box our way through existence. Other planets don’t bother trying to tune into our radio stations-there’s just too many of them. It all comes out as one big cacophony of intergalactic noise after making the thousand light-year trip to the 12-eared, 4-eyed, Slop Beasts of Quintuplet 4 (They have their children in sets of four, of course!).
Let’s not get away from ourselves here. When I write this blog, or just about any writing for that matter, I listen to laid-back music on my earphones. I could do the all too ‘innocent’ plug for Ipods, (I won mine in a writing competition-25 words or less, don’t ask what it was about!) but that’s not my style. I’m not too into names anymore. I’m into function. I listen to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock for the jazz effect, but I’ll also listen to some ‘World music’ like the Gyuto Monks, Tenzin Chogyal, Simon Shaheen, Dead Can Dance, Lisa Gerrard, Ryley Lee (shakuhachi), Ash Dargan and Andrew Langford (Didgeridoo), and I don’t even mind a bit of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on occasion.
I have lots of music, but there are a couple of prerequisites for ‘writing music’: They can’t have words, and generally they must be relaxed. If someone’s singing, I concentrate on their lyrics, thus no words get tapped out onto the keyboard. If the songs are too hyped-up and energetic, I’ll want to get up and dance…again, resulting in zero productivity.
Have a look through the list of comments that people left here on Khoi Vinh’s post and you’ll see the incredibly wide scope of viewpoints on this subject. Anything from writing in silence, to noisy cafes, to movie soundtracks are put into use by these bloggers. What do you do to get your creative percolations brewing? Is music the key? What else do you need? Does a partner tapping away on her laptop at electric-lightning-speed-touch-type-mania get on your nerves? Which tunes soothe your writing soul?
Jesse S. Somer often wishes he had 12 ears to hear the ‘music of life’. However, he knows the resulting ‘jumbleplex’ of the sonic orgy mightn’t do his writing any good.