Writing With Music

I read an article in The Guardian UK (link here) about writers struggling to write during prolonged lockdowns. I know a year ago when the first lockdowns were announced a year ago writers thought: “Yeah, we got uninterrupted time to write!” But as the narrator said, “That proved not to be true.”

But the question I asked myself in relation to this article is this: what the hell was my excuse? I mean, other than eating, sleeping, and driving to earn money, what else did I have to do with my time? Yes, I’ve written a lot in the past year and maybe I needed to write and delete shit left and right to get to the point I’m at here. But this morning this dumb-ass thought came to me:

(in a very whiny and stupid voice) “I don’t feel like my writing time is mine.”

Oh, really? Who says? Some asshole voice from my long-dead and done past?

Some constantly pinging phone? (I know, I could turn those off but putting the headphones on is more fun to do.)

Then I had a flash of memory, of being young and idealistic and always having the music on when I wrote. I remember always having it on speakers or headphones, listening to the radio, records, cassettes, cd’s, and now streaming. I carefully selected what I wanted to listen to based on the mood I was in or the mood I wanted to create.

Yet in recent years I’ve gotten away from that thinking I have to write in silence listening out for God-only-knows-what. That shit is going to cease right here and now. So why am I telling you this, dear readers?

Because for any writer that struggles to write, or anyone that struggles to let go of the noisy bullshit of this world, putting on the headphones and blasting music might help you. It’s helping me right now and I can see what it can do for me going forward.

The problem I’ve had for quite a while now with all that silence is that I get so damn easily distracted. Not just from my pinging phone or anything else, but from dumb-ass thoughts from so long ago they should be dust in a grave. It’s what’s kept me from blogging daily and I enjoy blogging but when I can’t settle my mind down and write I end up feeling like shit for the rest of the day and not really writing anything else.

It’s not the world itself that makes demands on people, it’s people that make demands on people. Long ago, there were demands made on my time that weren’t justified in any way, shape, or form. Yet I stayed silent about those unreasonable demands because I felt like if I spoke out the shit would hit the fan.

I know that wasn’t true but convincing my mind has been quite the challenge. Despite being on my own for the last ten years, I haven’t pursued my writing and my life near as much as I wanted to. I thought I could be quiet and likeable and cute and that would keep people off my ass. That wasn’t needed then and it’s sure not needed now.

I will say my relationship to writing is complicated and there’s a hell of a lot more to my story. But the big thing here is this: it’s not the amount of time I need, it’s me shoving bullshit out of my way to write and not feel like I’m just being a brat writing here. If anyone reading this feels like I’m just shooting my mouth off and being a bitch, that’s on you, not me.

I’ve always thought I didn’t have what it took to talk about anything I wanted to- my life, politics, writing, anything really. Because sooner or later someone would try to shoot me down, or shoot my idealism and fire. This in turn shut my writing down and if that was intent of anyone, fuck them all to Hell. And it’s not wrong for me to adopt a kick-ass attitude instead of trying to be nice because being nice and quiet doesn’t make for good writing.

Album listened to writing and editing this:

Racine by Sass Jordan, 1992 (she’s a blues-rock singer from Canada)