Friday, March 14, 2008

Mood Music

For reasons outside of my control, I was subjected to a good deal of '80s music today. Normally, I hear an '80s song, the general course of action is retreat: I change the radio station, leave the departments store, close the apartment/car windows, etc. This was impossible today, and a funny thing happened: I found myself enjoying the music.

I'm not saying by any means that I'm now a fan of '80s pop rock and will be running out to the local Safeway to buy an iTunes gift card to download fifteen dollar's worth music I still consider best left to childhood memories. However, it did get me thinking about music and writing. (What doesn't make me think about writing?)

I believe that the whole reason I enjoyed the music today is because other people did. It was less that I liked the music, but that I liked the shift it created in people's energy level. It's one of the things I love about music in general: they way a song can change your mood, make you think differently, and inspire you. Which is, of course, why a lot of authors write to music.

I've found that while editing, I like a nice, quiet environment, especially because half the time I'm reading aloud to myself. (This never fails to attract a cat.) But when I was writing Temple, I had a rotation of music that helped me along: Natalie Merchant and Tori Amos in the early days; Enya, Shakira, Celine Dion (yes, I know you all are now mocking me) in the later days. For Madison, I wrote whenever and wherever I could, and the only place that I remember the music was sitting in a Starbucks listening to several different distracting renditions of "Baby, It's Cold Outside". (Not exactly inspiring music for a mildly violent fantasy, in case you were thinking of trying it.)

As you can tell, I'm not an author that believes I need a certain type of music to fit my mood. (I'm not listening to anything at the moment.) I was telling Cody a while back that I've never understood people who are obsessed with having the right music to create the right mood. And I wasn't, until I said, "It's like they're trying to create the soundtrack to their own life," at which point, I wanted one of my own. Fortunately for all parties concerned, I've been rather lazy about pursuing that goal, but occasionally the thought of putting together a soundtrack for my books inspires me to hunt through the pages of iTunes. I mean, how cool would that be? Buy the book, get a bonus compilation CD soundtrack (or iTunes download) of the songs the author feels best suit each scene. I'd buy at least one to see how it went. And they could play it softly in the background of audio books. Brilliant, right?

And because I was enjoyed your responses so much to the previous post's question, I've got another: For all those of you who do like to set the mood with music for your creative endeavors, what are your favorites?

2 comments:

Kate said...

<< the only place that I remember the music was sitting in a Starbucks listening to several different distracting renditions of "Baby, It's Cold Outside". (Not exactly inspiring music for a mildly violent fantasy, in case you were thinking of trying it.) >>

LOL! Well, I don't know, I think that Miss Piggy-esque version might have inspired some violence against the sound system.

Amanda said...

Well, here's an embarassing little tidbit. My absolute favorite music to house-clean to is Christmas holiday music. The cheesier, the better. I rock out and scrub - it's fantastic. What a nerd!