I wrote a new piece every other day, on average, for the second half of the month. This was the unstated portion of my odd little experiment with music and writing. I’ve been writing “shorts” flashes, poetic paragraphs if you will and the occasional poem or micro essay, while accompanied by the artists/albums in the post below this one.
|Picasso's Three Musicians|
Clumping together the genres as I am, next up was the jazz and alternative beats, which oddly had the same effect: a more poetic feel, a closer attention to cadence in the work at hand. Thanks to a friend's recommendation, I am now a devoted listener to Dexter Gordon and probably will be until I die. But Gordon inspires something in me that is less immediate than I need in the moment-to-moment past-time that is my writing practice. He and other musicians inspire something more far-reaching, I think. In other words, I now have a lot of bad poetry on my desktop. I say it is bad poetry because it is. It’s horrible poetry. But, maybe one day I can make it into good poetry. This is often the way with writing, and chances are my fiction is bad, too, but I am yet to realize it because I'm more easily romanced by my own fiction.
When it comes down to it, I still need total and utter silence in order to indulge my favorite writing genres: fiction and essay. I can handle the sound of my coffee pot growling or the Southwestern birds chirping and screaming and carrying on as they do. When it came to this little experiment, I have to say that I would begin writing in just as clunky and awkward a manner as I always do, despite what song was playing. But, as soon as I got into the story, it didn’t matter what was playing, it distracted me. It was like my thought stream had to compete suddenly, even if it was just with a beat, even a good beat. I suppose I have to make my own beat. Or immerse myself in the beat, only to let it simmer there and come out in my writing in quieter times.
Immediate Conclusion: I tend toward writing bad poetry with soft rhythms, a little bit better poetry with jazz and instrumental. Soft tunes indulge my blog writing—which I see as a one-sided conversation, not so much a literary work. I need complete silence for everything else.
I doubt this is of any use to you in your own practice because the ideal writing environment is a highly subjective thing, but it was an interesting experiment. Music became just another distraction when I really got immersed. Sometimes, I didn’t even notice I had shut off the music until I was done with a piece. Apparently, I crave solitude in a real way when I write. But now, I have an arsenal of music that will be playing when I’m doing just about anything else around the house, anything but writing.