This weekend was Southern Magic’s second writers retreat. We gathered in the gorgeous Lazy Bear Lodge in the Smoky Mountains, the turkey buzzards circling the log cabin clinging to the mountainside. We relaxed in the hot tub overlooking the folded mountains, luxuriously green rippling away into the distance.
It was a great chance for a group of writers to gather and share. We plotted several story lines and critiqued a few others. We had discussions about everything from family issues, political viewpoints and our favorite movies/heroes/heroines, but mostly on the ins and outs of the writing life: contests, publishing, marketing, etc.
Saturday evening we shared something very personal: the music that we enjoy playing while we write. The selections varied, as you might guess! A few were calm and peaceful, such as Enya’s “Watermark,” evoking ideas of sensual exploration and fulfillment of pent up passion. One – 10CC’s “I’m Not In Love” – made each of us recall memories of past loves and losses. The rowdiest song was by Nickel Back, though I cannot recall the title (must have been the beer…) and was hard hitting and about driving fast, loving hard, and loving all of it!
Though not really surprising, the spectrum of music that we write to also reflected our individual personalities. My song was by Enya, and I use it more as white noise to filter out other background noises, and to bring about the freethinking peace that seems part and parcel of the sound. I have listened to the CD on repeat for years, never tiring of its clear, calm path it gives me for writing. I don’t often vary the music I choose to listen to, though I sometimes leave the radio on a pop or country station (turned way down low). Either way, it creates a background and thus is not something I’m actually listening to.
I heard some other writers say they pick a piece of music that speaks to them about the story they are currently writing. The hard driving rock and roll was selected not only because it reflected the life of the author who chose it, but because it fit the vampire stories she was writing, with lots of sex and erotica. Another author said she chose her piece by Rachmaninoff because the flow of the music paralleled the flow of the story she was working on, a slow building of passion with the resolution and ensuring cuddling and dozing that followed the lovemaking.
Do you have a band, musical selection, or other musical choice that you use to help you write? How do you choose what you listen to?