|Posted on August 20, 2017 at 7:15 PM|
From Facebook post 3-6-17
A lot of writers say they listen to music when they work. I tried doing that a few times when I couldn't seem to sit still long enough to write, even though the desire had me more excited than a free slice of pie. But it was hard to concentrate on my own words because my brain was busy deciphering lyrics. Before too long I was rockin' out—headbanging and the like—it just didn't work. The cat *hates* when I mosh...you know how they are. My writing suffered and I missed the nuance and layering of the music. It was like trying to listen to a phone call while someone talked in my other ear.
Recently, I needed inspiration for a romantic subplot. Love Interest hands off a CD to Protagonist and he reluctantly gives it a spin. It's reminiscent of old jazz and R&B torch singers; something sexy and beautiful but recent so he can prematurely scowl at it. (He's a codge. Gotta love 'im.) Most of all, I wanted to give the impression the music imparts without on-the-nose description. I thought I'd give this technique another shot.
The first artist that came to mind was Melody Gardot. She fit the bill: She's a young whippersnapper. Her voice is like liquid sex. I've heard the album "Worrisome Heart" a number of times so I didn't think I'd get as distracted as I would with new music.
Maybe the selections I used on my first attempt weren't right for the tone I was aiming for, but this time it worked beautifully. Before, I was separating everything, rhythm and phrasing vying for my attention. Ignoring the lyrics and immersing myself in the aggregate sound helped me develop the mood and expose Protagonist's emotional state. I'd like to think the new passages have more of a poetic flow now, though we'll see how they hold up after a few weeks in the time-out drawer.