Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Listening to the Muse(ic)

First off, let me say that the "muse" that so many writers credit with their ideas doesn't live in my head or my heart or wherever muses typically live.

Mine lives in my iTunes or Pandora account.

A writer friend of mine, Erin McCole Cupp, wrote an entire novel in which every chapter was titled after a song that was popular back in the '80s, a decade that encompassed my entire high school and college years. The book was titled "Don't You Forget About Me", a song by the pop group Simple Minds that was the theme for the '80s "brat pack" movie The Breakfast Club. Talk about a blast from the past; before I even read the book (which was really good, by the way!), the title alone evoked sentiments from the song and movie which I found echoed in the book.

Music can put you in the mood for many things from romance (surely I don't need to illustrate this?) to cooking (I like listening to Dean Martin when I make lasagna. Really.) When I'm at work, I like to listen to music and depending whether I'm at the winery or at the bakery, I might be listening to anything ranging from the latest pop hits to "Rat Pack" oldies, from contemporary country to classic '70s rock. And sometimes, a certain song will trigger an idea for my writing.

When I started writing my Black Horse Campground series, I had a basic idea of my characters (enough to work with) and slowly, ideas came to me, all of them to the tune of some song I had heard. An old REO Speedwagon song, "Can't Fight This Feeling" set the tone for the romantic triangle. John Fogerty's "Centerfield" gave me the idea to create a softball team for my characters. When J.D. Wilder first rode into my imagination, I distinctly heard Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" playing in the background.

Right now, I'm working on the fourth book in the series. Some people might say I need peace and quiet to work.

I need some tunes.


Sharon Arthur Moore said...

Amy, I don't know that I "need" music to write. I sometimes listen to it as background, but I can't say I find inspiration there. When I Am listening to music (while writing) it is typically to help set the mood for a scene. Sad scene, sad song; action scene, pounding rock. We writers are all so different, eh?

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good post. I agree with Sharon, we writers are all different. I don't listen to music--it would just add to the noise that's already around me and I'm quite capable of shutting it all out.

Amy Bennett said...

I rarely listen to music while I'm writing... it's at the other two jobs where I can't get away from it that I listen to it and sometimes get some inspiration. The drawback is when I'm in the middle of decorating a wedding cake and inspiration strikes and I just pray I can remember what it was (although I HAVE piped one or two "trigger" words in frosting on the counter and transferred them to paper with pen as soon as I had a minute to stop decorating!)

Thanks for your comments!

John Addiego said...

I had a spell, in a house full of noisy family, when I listened to jazz while writing. I could never have lyrics being sung in the background, though. I'm afraid I'd have written a story called "More than a Woman" if I did.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

I don't listen to music when I'm writing, but I do listen when I'm resting. Somehow music allows me to relax and let my mind wonder. I find a meandering mind is ideal for creativity. Beryl