Do you ever find yourself on the cusp of a feeling and you try to use music to intensify that feeling?
Maybe it’s somewhat silly to even post because people use music to evoke feeling all the time. For weddings, you’ll find love songs and joyful tunes. If you’re angry and want to rage against the machine you can, well, listen to Rage Against the Machine. Of course there is the ever-popular post breakup wallow.
But I’m not really talking about those sorts of things. I’m talking about finding a feeling. You feel something welling up in you, but you aren’t certain what it is. Is it that you’re about to be sad? Or maybe you’re just feeling particularly loving?
I have restless music days. Days where I change the channel on Spotify or switch to Songza or Pandora, searching. What melody, what lyrics, what genre is going to vibrate the correct heartstrings? It’s like having one of those itches that you scratch, but it moves. You keep chasing it, but you still have the sensation of the itch, just beneath your skin.
When I find the right music the restlessness settles. My soul tunes in and I tend to get stuck on it for days. Looping a limited playlist or even listening to the same song several times in one day. Sometimes in a row. The itch is scratched and I use the feelings to make something.
Today I am writing on the second book of the Red August series and behind me, my lover is editing the first book. It’s nice when he’s here I can work at my desk writing, and he can sit behind me at the table, writing.
We have officially reached workaholic status, though. All day yesterday I was making artwork for my store website (which is set to launch May1). Last week I split my time between writing, making items for my online store and making a Cafepress shop. Which is still very much NOT DONE. But off to a good little start.
Anyway, at first I was playing a music list with no lyrics. Then I ended up putting on my Fairytale Writing Mix – Red August which is on Spotify. You can follow it, if you like and you use Spotify – I am under “Heather Brooks.”
I take several approaches to listening to music while writing. If I’m in an easily distracted mood I will put on instrumentals. I have a list that is almost all instrumental called Myth, Magic, Faeries & Mermaids. I may even just listen to coffee shop sounds on Coffitivity. Other times I like having some music with lyrics happening – and usually it’s because I want something that gives me the atmosphere of what I’m writing. In the case of Red August I made a list that has a lot of sexy, ethereal stuff on it. Also, since the book is set in the early 1980s, I listened to some of the stuff around then. Retrojam is good for that.
So, here are probably my top five favorites (in no particular order) from my Fairytale Writing Mix – Red August:
– Howl – Florence + The Machine
– Exiles (The Wolves of Midwinter) – Mary Fahl– Born to Die – Lana Del Rey
– Ride – Lana Del Rey
– My Immortal – Evanescence
If you have suggestions for good songs that fit the haunted, werewolf, wolf, hunter, huntress, archery theme, please leave me a comment!
I enjoy background noise when I’m writing. Sometimes I play a show series like Psych or Once in the background. I’ve used Coffitivity as well. If I’m working on a fantasy story I have been known to put on movies like Labyrinth or Star Wars. It’s a lonely gig sometimes. Especially for somebody like me who fluctuates between introvert and extrovert. Having some background noise makes it feel like there is somebody else here. Especially if it’s characters like Monk or Gus that I know so well. It’s like having somebody here chatting, solving a murder or having a fantasy adventure without me having to tidy up the place or stop working to entertain them. They can go about their business and I can go about mine.
Sometimes though, I want a little mood music. I might be needing to really immerse myself in a place or time. I have several playlists on Spotify that include music with little or no lyrics, for those days I’m too easily derailed.
For the Red August series I have a list that includes Celtic music as well as fantasy movie soundtracks. Then a few days ago I discovered Retrojam which is a cool little website that suggests playlists to you based on your birthday. You plug in the numbers and it spits out some lists from what you would have been hearing on the radio in sixth grade or high school, depending on which list you select. It was pretty effective.
The main character in Red August is August Archer who is coming of age in the early 1980s. Having lists of songs that set me in that space helped me sink into her much easier and recall some old feelings and memories from my formative years during that era.
Some of the songs had me chuckling because they were so sappy or not at all what I would listen to. I was a total, Police, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd girl back in the early 80s. But unless you avoided the radio, you couldn’t help but hear a lot of other stuff floating around in the top forty, much of which will bring nostalgic feelings screaming forward.
Enjoy the trip!