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Cathy: Music to soothe the savage breast

In eons past, before the advent of my own set of children in my life, listening to music was a huge part of my writing process. What kind I listened to affected the mood of what I wrote. What mood I wrote in was enhanced by the music I would pop into my tape player — boom box of old. Now, my kids are noisy, especially my young S. His is a world of noisemaking used to cope with the onslaught of noise the world makes and which he finds difficult to walk through without making his own to tune out the rest. Therefore, whenever I have time to myself (ha-ha), over the last several years since his noisemaking started, I have bathed myself in quiet.

In working on my longer project again, I have rediscovered that music can be a great influence on the writing, and very inspiring. I find my main character’s mother is and hums Mozart’s “A Little Night Music.” His father is Dave Brubeck’s “Take 5” or “Modern Jazz Quartet, In Concert.” Years ago, when I started writing this book, I was listening to Miles Davis’s “A Kind of Blue.” Now my main character walks his dog to Shubert’s “Trout Quintet.” Sometimes I poke around the internet for jazz or acoustic folk and rock selections on college radio webcasts or streaming audio, whatever the correct term is. Thinking about what I listen to for writing has made me very curious to know what you all may be listening to, or not when you are creating. So I’d like to propose a conversation:

What do you listen to when you are creating? How does what you are listening to affect your creativity?

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. I LOVE the idea of music interweaving with the creative process. It sounds dreamy and magical. Unfortunately, every time I try to write with music — even music without lyrics — I remember that I CAN’T. While I am able to work amid the domestic din — even managing to block out my children’s chorus of “Mom! Mom!” until they are forced to stick their faces in front of my laptop screen — I cannot, in fact, listen to music while I’m writing or working in general. It utterly distracts me, and I can’t develop a coherent thought. Even classical music, at a very low volume, is too much. I get all antsy and frustrated and have to turn it off within minutes.

    So interesting, how our brains all work so differently!

    October 14, 2008
  2. Cathy #

    haha! it depends upon the music for me. in another area, we have a whoever is driving chooses the station/cd rule to keep from driving distraction.

    October 14, 2008
  3. Kristine #

    I love listening to music and I love writing, but for some reason, I can’t do both at the same time. I think it’s because too often I find myself singing or humming along to music, which makes it really hard for me to focus on my writing.

    I wish I could, though. I love the idea of background music.

    October 14, 2008
  4. I usually listen to alot of techno and dance, gets me real good an motivated. My oldest is learning to play guitar right now so now some of the background “music” is off key…..

    October 14, 2008
  5. Cathy #

    wow, bec, yeah i can see that for hands-on art endeavors, but i would definitely be distracting for writing….i used to blast dance (bronski beat, omd) and rock(zep) stuff way back when in college in the clay studio late nights to clear my head for paper writing.

    kristine, you and miranda are of a like mind. i find when i really get a groove going, the music will end, but not the writing, if baby c’s nap is long enough.

    October 14, 2008
  6. i go either way, depending on what i’m doing. if i’m writing, i can’t listen to music because my subconcious singer just won’t shut up. i sing without thinking, and i can’t write and sing at the same time! though i have caught myself throwing in song lyrics in the middle of writing something at work. 🙂

    when i’m working on art or jewerly, it really depends on my mood. if i take a day off work to stay home for jewerly and art (a rare treat), i like to listen to the radio. then i can sing along without it interferring with what i’m doing, with occasional breaks to entertain the cat and dog in true rock star concert form. 🙂

    when i’m in my workshop at night after the girls have gone to bed, i prefer the quiet since like you, cathy, i get that quiet so infrequently.

    October 16, 2008

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