Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Background Music

I tend to be a pretty good listener. The whole not knowing how to read thing, forced me to hone my listening skills as a kid. For years, I had an almost perfectly audographic memory. I no longer remember everything I hear, mainly because I no longer try to remember everything I hear. Still I’m always very concious of the sounds around me. Things like buzzy lights drive me bonkers, and I’m always eves dropping on the conversations of straingers.

In order to block out all the unwanted noises in my life, I spend a lot of time plugged in. Unless I am engaged in an active conversation with another person, I’m almost always listening to my I-pod. That's the main reason why I’ve listened to more than 80 audio books in the past year. But I do have several thousands of songs on my I-pod too.

I normally don’t like to read anything while I’m writing. I get very involved in the books that I read, and I never want my own prose to be influenced by the works of others. So I just yo-yo between reading/listening to 5 books a week, to listening to nothing but music and writing my own books.

Oddly, it is easier for me to ignor background music than electronic white noise. But music does effect my mood. So when I am actively writing, I like to have a soundtrack to my life. I’ve met several other writers who create playlists to write to that put them in the proper state of mind while writing. But I’m more interested in making a writing playlist to listen to during the parts of my day that I can’t write – like when I’m at work.

My last novel Camp Life centered around a production of Romeo & Juliet. It isn’t West Side Story, but I still felt like listening to show tunes was a good way to put me in a properly theatrical state of mind. The result, I listened to show tunes 24/7 for almost a year. I’ve memorized the scores to quite a few shows I’ve never even seen.

Now I’m writting a new novel staring a bunch of geeky college kids. So what do modern nerds listen to? I’m thinking alternative rock. I’ve started to assemble a playlist of Cobra Starship, Belle & Sebastian, Weezer, and Bowling for Soup, but I’m not sure what else to add to it. What obscure tunes do I need to track down in order to keep myself in a properly geekalisious state of mind?

And what about you? What do you like to listen to while you’re writing? Or living?

Joke of the Day
How many punk rock musicians does it take to change a light bulb?
Two: Once to change the light bulb and the other to smash the old bulb on his forehead.


Hector Macdonald said...

Hi Kate

I can't find an email address for you, so please forgive me intruding on your comment wall. I’d like to invite you to write about your favorite books at, where you can add information, images, video, music and links to illustrate and explore the books.

Right now, we're running a $3,000 Tournament and we'll be offering contract work to the best entries.

Best wishes

Hector Macdonald
Editor, Book Drum

Matt said...

Hi Kate.

I like your blog. I'm horrified and amused all at once. I'm horrified by your spelling. Amused that you don't care. And impressed that it still makes sense.

Hey! That's a hat trick.

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