Music: Friend or Foe of the Writer?

Comedian Lewis Black often utilizes an analogy comparing humans to snowflakes, in essence reminding us of how unique we are and no two snowflakes are exactly alike.  He often throws in a little profanity in there too, but it fits nicely with the grumpy old political satire stereotype.

I reference our human unique factor as it obviously carries over to the creative process and how vastly different each writer approaches their craft.  The aforementioned Mr. Black is also a published playwright, and I wonder if he includes music when he sits down to write a play or outline a comedic bit.

There are certainly times when I require a very quiet environment to write.  Generally, if the muse has me full on, I have no idea what is going on around me and my immediate environment.  If I am starting something new, sometimes quiet is good for that.  However, any moment I hit a stall, or need to do editing or have trouble getting started, music is my friend.

Overall, music is a huge passion in life.  I use it to work out, to help relax the mind to sleep, to kick off a morning, get fired up for a weekend, or anytime my world takes a bad turn.  Right now I’m rocking out to playlist number five.  I have no idea how the fifth playlist ended up with a better ratio of cool tunes over the other lists, but here we are.

I love it all.  I played the saxophone (alto and tenor) in middle school into my sophomore year in high school.  I actually walked away from the lead chair my junior year because of the practice time demands associated with both marching and jazz band.  Although I rarely spend time with the word regret, there are moments I wished I had stayed with it throughout high school.  But hey, social life and all for the teen who lost sight of the big picture more than once.

In middle school we actually made an album.  I have a jazz solo on there and I can still “hear” my nerves when I listen to it.  I was as nervous as anything I had ever done, but it was a blast.  All of it.  Music is life.  It offers so much joy.

Thus, music is a big part of this writing aspect of life now, and I don’t think I could have it any other way.  Rock, pop, country, classical, jazz, blues, R&B, hip-hop, I love it all.  Or at least some of each, it took a long stint of living in Wyoming for me to find room for country music in my heart.

Most recently, since so much of the culture is throwing “rock is dead’ in my face, I find I am defiantly listening to more rock and roll than ever.  That is the point of rock, a proverbial middle finger to the man — see most any Johnny Cash photo.  The ‘man’ of course being any part of society looking down on those stepping out of the perceived boundaries of what each of us is “supposed” to do in the world each day.

As a fairly unconventional human, I strongly identify with the rebellious notions of rock. I feel the anger, the frustration blasting away at a world suggesting there is only a limited, certain, allowable, standard, normal existence.  I contend a whole bunch of my fellow snowflakes feel the same way, which is why rock and roll will always have a foothold on the planet.

In the meanwhile, blasting out the Beatles, Queen, AC/DC, Def Leppard, Seether, ELO, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foreigner, Asia, Yes, Boston, The Who, Kansas, Chicago, Soundgarden, Cheap Trick, Van Halen, Smashing Pumpkins, Rush, Kinks, Journey, Kings of Leon, Rage Audioslave, Tom Petty and a dash of Mozart will have to do.  After all, I take inspiration from all corners, and songwriters can be quite the poets too.

Quiet time is good, just not too quiet.  Write on…