Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Music, the pulse of life.
This is what my self-imposed homework consists of: listening to music.
Music energizes and inspires me... and I've been avoiding it the past few years. Probably because if I listened to more music I'd feel like writing and since I wasn't writing it would produce feelings of guilt. So rather than feeling guilty (or better yet actually writing) I've limited myself to non-music days, weeks, and years. I think in the past three years I've only listened to a couple dozen of my CDs. I don't own an iPod or MP3 player or anything similar. My car is old (but paid for) and only has a cassette player. I will listen to the radio in the car- if there isn't a screaming baby on board. But with a houseful of little ones, the actual moments of QUIET are music to my ears these days.
I used to be such a music junkie. During the first eight years of life I listened to whatever my older sisters and parents did. Highlights (or low lights) of those days were Roger Whittaker, Barry Manilow, Alabama, The Beach Boys, Culture Club, and Billy Idol.
When I started developing my own tastes I bought WHAM!, The Jets, Debbie Gibson, and New Kids on the Block. I won't deny I liked these people- I just won't spend much time revisiting them.
Then I graduated to rock music: Boston, Europe, Nelson, and others. But I also developed an appreciation of classical music at that time in my life. I would go to the local Sam Goody's in my denim and leather jacket (yes, it was denim and leather, complete with Skid Row and Firehouse buttons adorning it) and buy J.S. Bach, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. Once I was told that I “didn't look like the powdered wig type.”
I later expanded my search for musical excellence and embraced country. This was the year that Diamond Rio, Martina McBride, and Little Texas emerged. But I also embraced the always in-style Patsy Cline with her deep, haunting vocals.
After that I dabbled in the new age and world music scene digging the likes of Enya and Ottmar Liebert.
In the past dozen years there hasn't been much growth in my musical life. Besides getting new albums from my favorites I think the only “must have” musicians/singers I've added are Hanson, Emmy Rossum, and Linkin Park. How's that for a mix? Of course once or twice a year there will be a song I hear on the radio that's totally grooving and whenever I do get an MP3 or iPod, I'm sure I'll purchase those single songs.
But that's me: a big fan of a couple dozen singers/groups across the musical board. (Those listed by name total about seventy-five percent of my CD collection.) Having that broad range of interest helps when choosing music to help me set the mood for my writing.
It's all the rage now for authors to have a “play list” on their website for their different novels but I was doing that fifteen years ago. Does that make me old or what? Each of the novel-length stories I wrote in my teens has a soundtrack listed in my notebook for the story. I'd put in music, get the vibe going and then zone out writing. The next thing I'd notice was silence because the CD has finished. Those were some good times.
So, my homework... This past week I've made an effort to listen to more music. I haven't gotten past Mitch Malloy yet (pictured above). He's in a class all his own, singing several types of musical genres and is the best out there, in my opinion. But I did watch Phantom of the Opera (Emmy Rossum) the other night- does that count?
This week I pledge to listen to at least five CDs by five different artists as well as continue to WFMAD (Write Fifteen Minutes a Day- see previous blog.)