Saturday, April 28, 2012

Background Baseball

I know a lot of writers love to have background music going on when they write. Some create playlists or soundtracks for their WIPs. As for me, I've never been able to do that. Music distracts me. If it's a movie soundtrack, I'll revisit the movie in my mind. If the music has words, I'll sing along. If it doesn't have words, I'll be transported back to my high school and college symphonic band days (not places I want to visit too often!).

But I have found that the best and most productive background "music" for me is an Atlanta Braves baseball game. It's the perfect structure: I can only write in 2- or 3-hour spurts, about the length of a game. I take breaks at the commercials between innings. During the season, there's a game almost every night, which means I'm writing almost every night. When the Braves have an off day, I vacuum and dust.

I was never a big baseball fan growing up, but came to love Braves baseball shortly after my mom passed away. My dad was a huge fan and lived in a nearby retirement community. I would go visit him almost every night, and we would watch the game. There wasn't a lot of conversation, but we were together. I grew to love the game.

Maybe that's why writing to baseball works so well for me. It still connects me with my dad. Even though he's been gone for seven years, I can feel his love when I watch those games. And that love continues to inspire me.

Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, two outs. I sit with my laptop, confident I can hit a writing grand slam. Whether I will or not, remains to be seen. But I'm playing the game.


Carla Swafford said...

I think that's a lovely way to write, JoAnn. Thanks for sharing.

Chris Bailey said...

What a sweet story. I'm a songbirds-only background, myself.

Louisa Cornell said...

Music comes in all forms. Baseball is an elegant sport and there is a rhythm and melody to it all its own. I am not surprised in the least you are able to write to it. As a musician I find music in so much of everyday life - in ordinary things and extraordinary things. I think it speaks to our love of words and can only make it better.

JoAnn said...

Thank you, Carla!

JoAnn said...

Chris -- me too! Sometimes when I can't listen to baseball, I pull up nature sounds on my iPod. Very conducive! :-)

JoAnn said...

Louisa -- Beautifully put. I will be more aware of that "music in everyday life." Thank you!