I prefer silence. But sometimes I am able to reach a beautiful place of flow with music, as long as it's instrumental only. When words come in, a different part of the brain comes in to decipher the words, taking some of our brain power away from the writing.
I thought I would include a passage about music that I found in one of my journals. It came from a writing session with a friend of mine. We used to meet in a cafe to do timed writing exercises from Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones."
I've always loved music, but I only like the music that I like! In nursery school, for example, I got into big trouble because I refused to sing those silly songs. (I found them demeaning and beneath me.) You see, by then my foster brother, Char, had turned me on to the Beatles. It's nearly impossible to go back to “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” after discovering the Beatles! So I refused to sing, and the teacher made me sit on a chair in the center of the group while all the other kids sat looking up at me to see if I would sing....I, of course, did not comply.
When I was a bit older, I had a clock radio to wake me up for school. I remember I thought that the bands lived at the radio station and took turns playing live over the airwaves. I sang along to all my favorites (no one was forcing me, after all!) and I thought that I sounded so much like them that I was sure to be a star someday. I remember I sang especially well to the tune: “I Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates, You Got a Brand New Key.”
Sometimes at night when I wake up, I write songs in my head and imagine singing them. I guess there is a small part of me – the little girl inside – who still thinks I could be a star someday. (But only if I can sing what I want to sing!) Someday, maybe, you never know!