I don’t mean to trod on the coattails of the magnificent 1948 Judy Garland/Lena Horne/Gene Kelly/June Allyson/Mickey Rooney flick but sometimes there’s no other way around it. Truth be told, I’ve never seen this movie and I’m just ripping off the title for a rumination on the relationship between writing and music. But seeing as how I’m providing more press for this movie than it’s received in fifty years, I feel I’m paying my royalties.
Fear the Page
I haven’t written anything in almost a month. Not one word of a story, novel or blog post. I’m not afraid of the blank page. We’re just not really speaking.
I had a memoir/creative non-fiction piece published in the excellent Specter Literary Magazine last week. (Find it here: http://www.spectermagazine.com/lit/prose/james-patrick) A story that means quite a bit to me, that took me a long time to craft and mold into the story it is today. I’m very proud of that story. Still this relative success has not inspired me to tackle any of the projects in my head.
A few weeks ago I bought a typewriter on eBay. I’ve been curious about the relationship between creativity and the tools with which we document that creativity. How would we change our thought process when composing in a journal versus typing on a computer or typing on a manual typewriter? Writers are superstitious beasts — not unlike professional athletes. So many unseen factors contribute to the ability to create and to perform. As much as anything that influences a writer’s ability to create, external sensory input remains the drug of choice. Ask any writer and they’ll likely have a list of musical artists or genres that encourages creativity. Writers write to music that inspires them, to help create mood and tone in their writing. I wish every book came with the soundtrack that inspired its creation. There’s perhaps no better way to get in the mind of a writer than to listen to the music that spurs them to create. Most often, I write to jazz — Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins are three of my go-to artists — or some melodic post-rock like Eluvium, Balmorhea or Signal Hill.