Do you ever look into the deep green shadows of a primeval forest and wonder what those secret depths hold? Do you like to write about your new and inventive discoveries while sipping a glass of fragrant wine? Do you enjoy the creative process? Then I hope you will stop a spell, enjoy the adventure, and travel with me as we imagine the possibilities...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Writing to the Beat

How do you write? Are you cozied away in a quiet room by yourself, pounding at the keys? Many people write that way. There are all kinds of permutations in noise level surrounding an author. I have a friend who writes in a room with the soft sounds of Strauss tickling her imagination. Another friend can’t abide any sort of distraction at all. Not me.

Put me in a crowd with people milling around. Give me a strong bass and a steady rhythm. Throw me a little rock, some blues, country, or bluegrass, and a whole lot of roll. If the band sings long, sings loud, my imagination flies. My characters come alive. They take shape. Their bodies sway to the rhythm of the beat. They don’t just dance. They soar.

Plots fill the air intertwined with notes in a multitude of keys. Ideas emerge, woven in majors, and minors; saturated in the emotions of love, hate, and everything in between. Music drives the engines of my brain.

I also love to write in crowds. I adore the energy folks give off. I like to hear them laugh, sigh, giggle, cry. I hear the urgency in their voices when they whisper, and notice the surreptitious motion of a hand, the touching of knees, lowered lashes, and tiny smiles. I enjoy seeing people get up and dance. Sometimes the music is so infectious that there is no way people can stay in their seats, so the chairs erupt warm bodies onto the dance floor.

People give so much information about themselves when they dance, it is easy to spot the introvert’s mincing steps, arms held close. Or the extravert, with hands high, head lifted, moving across the parquet. Then there are those who sit so quietly at their table, they almost disappear into the fabric of the air itself, but when music flares out of tall black speakers, these same folk no longer sit still. Music transforms them as well as my characters, providing ideas for stories.

Live music venues are my favorite. I load up the computer, or paper and pen, into my polka-dot wheelie bag and head out to listen and write. In Tallahassee, we are fortunate to have many places that cater to local bands, and I certainly have my favorites.

Today I’m writing at the American Legion Hall at Lake Ella, in celebration of Indie Music. (Thanks Bert Calderon.) Most Thursdays there is music and food on Tharpe Street between the Post Office on Martin Luther King, and Publix Shopping Center across from Lake Ella. On any night in Tallahassee, a person can find live music. Whether to listen, dance, or write, our town is filled with song, and so I write and say thank you to the band, and thank you to the places that care enough about music to hire local acts. Another hearty thanks goes out to those places that don’t mind if someone sits at one of their tables writing away, their mind on images no one else sees, but whose ears are ever tilting toward the music.

The most important thing for a writer is to find what suits them. They need to find their own rhythm. Sometimes birdsong is perfect for a phrase, a sentence, an entire book, and sometimes, you have to rock and roll to that last page, paragraph, sentence, and period, until you reach: The End.

As ever, I hope you, too, are imagining the possibilities,


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