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Music and background noise

Music and writing….

I am writing this part of this site while listening to old Elvis Presley.

But working on the novel about the 60’s, popular music of that decade doesn’t work at all. Music that shaped my life– that I danced to, sang and formed the soundtrack of my adolescence.

Instead, I listen to the classical music written in that time, particularly, the compositions of Leonardo Balada (in particular, Guernica. He was 35 yrs old in 1968– and he wrote that piece as an expression of rage and grief at the destruction of the Spanish village by the Nazis. But he also wrote the piece was protested against the war in Vietnam.

I dance to Motown— I still love it, but so far it’s zero on inspiring the memories or the writing about the 60’s for me.

I ran into a friend in the coffeeshop in Powell’s, one of Portland, Oregon’s treasures and the largest new and used bookstore in the USA. My friend was struggling to write an essay– but he found the background noise of a busy coffeeshop to be the background noise he needed.

For me, I sometimes need complete silence and solitude, and at others, a busy coffee shop with music I dislike.

It still amazes me how irrational and mysterious the entire creative process is.

You might try listening to different music while you write. Because I am writing a novel about the 60’s, I bought a lot of music performed back then– and found it very difficult to listen to it! In the course of the forty years I had lost my taste for a lot of it.  Interestingly, I can write to classical music written in the 1960’s, some written as a protest against the war.

I think you can find out these things by experimentation. I don’t think you can figure out what will work unless you try the music while writing.

Turning to another art form, look at colors. There has been a lot written about the psychology of color, from ancient Vedic scriptures to Goethe to clinical research. It does appear that certain colors can affect our moods.

We probably need to experiment to see what produces the most writing for you. Blue seems to calm people down where red stimulates us. Green appears to be sociable. There are probably as many interpretation as there are people, but you might figure out if a color effects you and see whether using that color does help your writing.

I read that a pink light-bulb, if I can find such a thing, might get me out of bed and wake me earlier. I am a night person but I’m getting up early to conform, I think. I am confused about this. But I might try it. It’s probably healthier than coffee. But coffee is easier to find at 7 AM than a pink light-bulb. But I like challenges! But there are light bulbs in other colors so experiment.

Finally you can imagine colors that you can breathe in– like yellow in and out or orange, which makes for optimism some books say…. orange in and out. Try it for five minutes. Some people swear by it. Again, different colors may have different results. Let me know if this works for you in our blogs.

For good sleep, I understand that blue or green light has a salutary effect.

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