Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Few Good Songs

As the end of NaNoWriMo's week-one approaches, I feel the need to share some of the songs that have generated the right momentum to keep the word count flowing (just under 8k right now). And while I don't usually listen to music while I'm hammering out my half-brilliant works of near genius, I do listen to my CD d' jour while I'm zipping around in my car all over the place. This is where my muse likes to visit me most, and if the music is just right, she'll flood me with new scenes and rampant dialogue to the point that I sometimes have to jot stuff down at stop lights. It's a messier situation when she visits in the shower, but let's not go there.

In the past, I have tried to set up the romanticized writing environment, complete with oil lamps, cozy pillows, and carefully burned CDs; but perhaps because I'm a closet musician, I usually catch myself analyzing the metrics and circle of fifths, which in turn usually ruins my stream of consciousness--also known as "the zone."

Using earphones makes it worse. When I got my first ipod a few years ago, I thought I had died and gone to music heaven as I dug up hundreds of obscure songs for a mere .99 cents a pop, which soon turned into (gasp) hundreds of dollars over a six-month period. I had to cut back, but now am glad I made, and still make, the investment. So there I was one night in my picture-perfect writing environment, trying to write a scene where my main character was making a life-or-death decision--while in my ears Leonard Cohen (whom I love) was singing (sort of) about Suzanne, who is half-crazy as she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China. My pen (or keyboard) had to shut down while I imagined how nice it would be to have some tea and oranges from China as I listened to the rest of the song:

And just when you mean to tell her
You have no love to give her
She gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover...

See? I'm doing it right now...trying to write a decent blog entry without getting lost in a song!

So before I go off on another meandering tangent, here's the current list of what I've been listening to and some of the lines that make it happen...

1. Bulletproof Weeks
by Matt Nathanson.

So what happened to bullet proof weeks in your arms
What happened to feelin' cheap radio songs
What happened to thinking the world was flat
Yeah what happened to that

2. Down
by Rakim Y Ken-Y.
(also one of the best reggaeton songs to Zumba to!)

Pero todo fallo en todos los intentos (gotta hear it to fully appreciate it)
Translation: But everything went wrong in every attempt

3. Summer Again by The Afters
(absolute poetics set to music)

As she falls I try to catch her
For one last touch of warmth from summer
As one thing leaves to become another again
I remember when
Oh to be with summer again
The days were warm and we wore them like skin
Now I feel the effects of October again

4. Writing to Remember by Matt Brauwer
(has a slight country feel but it throws a powerful punch)

They say that you can’t go back
I wouldn’t try even if I could
Cause somehow in the darkest hours
Something always came around for good

5. Sky Blue and Black
by Jackson Browne
(I'll never grow tired of this song...)

You're the color of the sky
Reflected in each store-front window pane
You're the whispering and the sighing
Of my tires in the rain
You're the hidden cost and the thing that's lost
In everything I do
Yeah and I'll never stop looking for you
In the sunlight and the shadows
And the faces on the avenue
That's the way love is
That's the way love is
That's the way love is
Sky blue and black

Other songs I'm listening to this month are directly and intentionally selected to give me a feel for the time and place element of my Romanian setting. I'll be adding Turkish tunes soon as well as Brazilian as my story progresses...

6. Romania by Elana Timaru
(a lullabye sang in Romanian)

7. Dark Eyes by Zoltan and His Gypsy Ensamble
(an instrumental--love it!)

8. Romania by Gary Sills from his album, Restless Hearts
(a piano piece that I must learn--in December! It's not the same song as #6)

9. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes; I Love You Sweetheart of My Dreams; & Ask Me Now by Thelonious Monk
(I can imagine these three in the movie!)

10. Solace & Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin
(Joplin is my soul mate!)

So there it is, my top-10 (13)...

Noapte buna si Dumnezeu miluieste!
(Goodnight and God bless)

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