Friday, October 17, 2008

Music Makes My World Go 'Round

I am a walking contradiction. This is the one thing that most of my friends and enemies can usually agree on.

I am private by nature, but yet about 95% of my life has been exposed to the public view, both on this blog since Memorial Day weekend and in the chat rooms since Feb '07. I have severe problems with my hands (writing, holding, grabbing, carrying, etc.), yet can still type about 40 words a minute with typos/35 without, and even faster on a typewriter (more about my hands in future posts, possibly). I have problems sometimes carrying on normal face to face/telephone conversations with people, yet with the written word, I can speak eloquently, show off my razor sharp wit and biting sense of humor, with a style that I could never quite show off in public.

With music, it's the same thing kind of contradiction. I can listen to any and all kinds of music, yet when I write, I need serious peace and quiet. Or enough quiet to concentrate on what I'm writing about. I find that music is the great motivator when it comes to my writing.

Like most people who write, I have a normal (or semi-normal) 9-5 day job. And unlike most people, my morning and evening commute is relatively short, about twenty minutes each way. So I make the most of my driving time by listening to either the radio (college) or my CD's.

Whatever type of music I decide to listen to, it always gets me into the proper frame of mind for writing. Depending on the type, usually determines the mood/swerve of what I write. If I'm listening to something either relatively upbeat yet strikes a nerve (Matthew Sweet or Oasis); crunchy (Sevendust or Saliva); melancholy (Johnny Cash's last five records made with Rick Rubin producing or The Band); power pop (The Smithereens) or country (Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krause), my writing is going to reflect that current state of being.

Now if you read my profile, you'll notice that my tastes run the gamut from Hard Rock to Country and everything else in between. Just to give you a little idea of the other genres I listen to, here are a few groups/people that I have sitting my music rack: Silverchair, Rage Against the Machine, Oasis, Vernon Reid, Billy Joel, Cracker, Smashmouth and Tom Lehrer.

These, plus countless others, gets me amped up for the day. Usually, I spend the day physically doing my mindless job (payroll) and mentally working on my story or my blog. By the time the evening rolls around, the music I spent listening to throughout the day, has had enough time to sufficiently marinate my mood and influence my writing.

Take now for instance. I spent today listening to some college radio, 45's, Paul McCartney, and Squeeze at work, and the Offspring on the way home. During the day, I was able to create the basic outline for this post, which I was able to flesh out and create this nifty little post.

I love listening to music, as it really gets me into the proper frame of mind for writing. Or blogging. Or even posting in the chat rooms.

Music makes my world go 'round and makes my writing come alive. What does music do for you and your writing, or simply just do for you?


  1. I LOVE music. I love country, i love pop, i love old Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, I also love some of the new rap music my kids listen to. It's nice to have a variety.....

  2. It is really. I discovered college radio when I first started working for the state of CT back in the mid-90's, and it really opened my eyes to all of the wonderful genres out there.

    And it has let me experiment with what is considered to R & B at my own speeed as well.

  3. Jeez... my MP3 has everything from Simon & Garfunkel to Metallica on it. People who stick to one genre of music tend to be boring people. I like 70's-80's pop, rock, metal, thrash, some country (old country, not that pop trash they call country these days), Motown, 50's tunes, even classical (although I am totally ignorant, I just like the music). Can't stand rap. Not my culture I guess. I can appreciate the talent behind some of it though. I remember right after 9/11 Saturday Night Live's first show after the attacks had a rapper on who did a rap version of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". That Floyd song become a semi-anthem for 9/11 victims, and I remembered thinking "How can SNL degrade both Floyd and 9/11 by RAPPING "Wish You Were Here"? Well, that rapper (can't remember who it was) brought the house down with his moving rendition... I had tears streaming down my face because he did it so well. I guess you can't always judge a book by its cover.

  4. Funny you should mention classical. Almost everyone from my generation got exposed to classical via Looney Toons, and I got additional exposure playing the clarinet throughout my school years.

    Still, most music does affect my writing/blogging in various ways.

  5. Hmmm...I have about 110Gb of a fair range. I have everything fom Tori Amos to some HEAVY heavy metal, and then I play classical music to my kiddie once in a while. Although I prefer the rock/metal side of things and head off to the softer stuff once in a while to listen to something different. I used to write posts to music and found they did influence how I wrote the post. Even the 3 minute walk from the car to the office I stick my iPod on. If I had to lose my eyesight OR my hearing, it would be a very tough decision to make.

  6. Extremely heavy, heavy metal music can be a refreshing way to get down and dirty with writing (or in my case, sometimes chat rooms).

    Lately though, I've been leaning towards stuff that runs more emotional: i.e. Johnny Cash, Eagle-Eye Cherry and The Hooters. I find that that particular type of music is doing wonders for my writing. The stuff I'm re-writing now has an underlying tone of sadness to it, and I really want to keep it with that same tone throughout.


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G. B. Miller

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