My Musical Universe

For me, music and writing are intimately intertwined. I don’t always listen to music when I write, but I find some of my best work comes when listening to some of my favorite music. The piece I’m working on dictates the type of music I’ll listen to while typing along.

Music will spark ideas, ruminations and memories. Oh! The memories…

My momma was very active in the “little theater” when we lived in upstate New York. (When I say “upstate” in relation to New York, I mean Central New York, in the Fingerlakes region.) Not only did we listen to pop AM radio (Sly and the Family Stone, The Ray Coniff Singers, The Jackson Five, Three Dog Night) I was also exposed to musical theater – “Anything Goes”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Brigadoon” is just a small example. I learned to appreciate all genres and keep an open mind in regard to the various types of music. Rap, blues, country, classic rock, alternative, hard rock, one hit wonders, classical and pop – my collection is eclectic and I love it all.

Depending on what I’m working on, I’ll choose the type of music I think will facilitate the process, having set up several playlists for this purpose. For non-fiction articles, I’ll often listen to pop, dance or oldies. When I’m working on something a little more intense, I have a playlist of strictly instrumental music. Other times, I’m in the mood for some hip-hop or blues. Occasionally I want quiet.

Of course, writing isn’t the only corner of my life music occupies. It’s in my veins like hemoglobin, carrying oxygen to my heart, in more ways than one. Music is as much a part of me as my blues eyes and red hair, and I’m helpless to change it (well, okay, maybe the hair is easy to change.) Music bonds, illuminates and comforts. It’s a venting mechanism, a safe one.

Once a month or so, a dear friend of mine and I have a Battle of YouTube. On our private journals (yes, there is a difference between “blog” and “journal”, in my opinion and a future topic here) we’ll post back and forth videos of our favorite music for hours, and it’s a blast. I’ve discovered music I haven’t listened to before, remembered music I’d forgotten, and enjoyed myself immensely.

I’m always on the lookout for music I haven’t heard. I’ll take special note of something I hear that I like on one of the dancing shows, or “Don’t Forget The Lyrics”. My kids share their playlists, so I don’t become ossified in my perspective of music. Other friends and I exchange mixes of our favorites, opening musical doors to other musical universes. How cool is that?

What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write? Post a playlist and let me know what you consider essential to you, and why.

Here’s one of mine:

1. Allegria – From the Circ D’Soliel. Beautiful music, unusual to me and hopeful.

2. I’ll Follow You – Death Cab For Cutie. I love the video to this, and the message explains itself.

3. Sweet Jane – Cowboy Junkies. I know this song from Lou Reed, but I love this rendition.

4. Hanging By A Moment – Lifehouse. I’ve seen this band live twice, and they were amazing.

5. All Good Things (Come to an End) – Nelly Furtado. This reminds me bad things do come to an end, too.

6. Over and Over – Nelly feat. Tim McGraw. You’d think a pairing like this wouldn’t work, but it does.

7. Let My Love Open The Door – Peter Townsend. A legend. I prefer the slower version, but both are great.

8. The Way I Are – Timbaland feat. Keri Hillson and D.O.E. He is a genius of beat and rhythm. Boogie, baby.

9. Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve. That’s life. So he says, and so it is.

10. Woke Up This Morning – Alabama 3. Theme from The Sopranos. Reminds me of living in New York. Heh.

11. Closing Time – Semisonic. Reminds me of much younger years, in a good way.

12. Breathing – Lifehouse. Yes, they’re that good they deserve a second nod.

13. Big Girls Don’t Cry – Fergie. She was a surprise for me, coming from The Black-Eyed Peas. A pleasant one.

14. 1234 – Feist. Cute, charming and cheerful without being annoying. Yay!

That’s my playlist. Let’s see yours!

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