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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mozart, what's another word for ecstatic? How music helps the creative process.

As I type this, Hans Zimmer's Chevaliers de Sangreal is building to an epic crescendo. So don't be surprised if I forgo the witty banter, zany one-liners, and dexterous jokes in favor of serious and thought provoking instruction.

Just kidding. I just wanted to work dexterous into the post.

But the fact of the matter is, some of my best work is done while the composers of today and yesterday weave their classical magic around and in my ears. I cannot write in complete silence. I know a few folks that can, and I envy that ability, but when things are too quiet, my train of thought skips the next three stops and winds up in Tunica, Mississippi.

I also cannot write when there is too much noise. The appeal of Starbucks as a setting for writing will forever escape me. I'm sure that it is has more to do with being seen as a writer than actually being an environment that fosters great work, but nonetheless I simply cannot concentrate with that many people milling about while whomever the artist of the month is wails soulfully away on an acoustic guitar.

I do like their croissants, though.

The perfect setting for me is alone, at home, with soft music laying a foundation for my creativity to set up shop. Now, everyone's preferences are just that, and you may find another style of music that does the trick for you, but classical has always been my flavor. And believe me, it works.

I wrote Peretti, my screenplay, while listening to Chopin. Aaron's action scene where he runs from the police in I Will Follow was crafted to the score of The Amazing Spider-Man. When a string section is giving it their all, I can't help but to respond in kind. And film scores really do the trick as they run the gamut of tempo and emotion, which is a model all great novels should follow.

So the next time you sit down to write, try a little music.

Just please, no adult contemporary. Nothing great has ever been accomplished listening to Phil Collins.*

Until next time, keep those keyboards warm.


*Merely a joke. I love Phil Collins.

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