Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If Music Be the Food of Prose...

Many writers I know like to listen to music while they write, to get in the mood. Back in college, I used to listen to music while I wrote, but it wasn't so much to get me into the mood of the book as it was to take me out of the mood of the dorm. I'd sit at my typewriter in my own little corner of the room and play Broadway musicals and even sing along while I wrote. I must have been a lot better at multitasking then, because I wrote Simon Says while listening to a lot of Sondheim, and the two have little in common beyond the S alliteration.

These days I work better in absolute silence, which is actually much harder to come by than good music. Somehow, with someone else's perfect lyrics echoing in my head I have more trouble finding my way through to the words I need for the book I'm writing. But music hasn't entirely disappeared from my literary world I love to listen to music when I read, and often when I pre-write. And sometimes my reading points me in the direction of good music.

Last night I finished reading David Levithan Love is the Higher Law, a novel about three teens living through and reacting to 9/11. Two of them see reflections of their complex feelings about the event in the music they listen to and the concerts they attend. After I read the last page I went straight to iTunes to check out the songs mentioned in the book, and promptly downloaded two albums.

As I write this, I'm listening to songs from the Singles album by Travis, songs I'd never heard before because I'd never heard of Travis. Thanks for the introduction, David Levithan.

I guess I can still write to music, after all!

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