Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writing to Music

After reading Frankie’s post the other day on the number of books on her nightstand, I checked out the list of questions posed as part of the Sisters in Crime September Blog Hop. The questions about music and writing caught me eye so today I’ll be addressing those: Do you listen to music while writing? What’s on your playlist?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately because I really like music, all kinds. According to Cornell University, there’s evidence that music is good for your health. I’d love to be able to listen to music while I’m writing, but I just can’t write fiction to most of it. I can’t write to anything with words. Interestingly enough, when I wrote technical documents I had no problem listening to, and singing along with, all kinds of music. But fiction is another story.

The only exceptions to the no-words rule are Gregorian chants and the music of Hawaiian singer Keali‛i Reichel (as long as he’s singing in Hawaiian.) I’m even picky about the instrumental music I listen to while I’m writing. Mozart, Bach, smooth jazz artists like Chris Botti and Dave Koz are all okay. Harp music is a particular favorite. (Right now I’m listening to Christine Grace Magnussen’s On Wings of a Dove: Harp Music to Soothe the Soul.) I heard once that harp music can calm down an agitated cat. I tried it on one of our cats and it seemed to help. I know it calms me down. Perhaps I’m part cat.

But I cannot listen to instrumental versions of well-known Christmas carols while working on a book. I find myself singing along, drifting off into a winter wonderland instead of paying attention to my writing.

So, I’m curious. Does anyone else have this problem? Or are you all happily writing to the latest hits?

And now I’ll introduce you to the author I’m linking to as part of the blog hop: Diann Adamson. We’re both members of the Los Angeles Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Diann is currently serving as the chapter’s Membership Director. This weekend on djadamson.com she’ll be talking about the writers that have influenced her.
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In the fun word category I have a couple more for you this week. I was watching an episode of Sleepy Hollow and they used two words I found particularly interesting: gongoozler and gumplefik.

Gongoozler is an idle spectator. (British English) According to oxfordictionaries.com its origins are from the early 20th century, originally denoting someone who idly watches activity on a canal. Rare before the 1970s.

>Gumplefik means fidgety and restless. I couldn’t find it in the OED or any other dictionary I have access to, but there are a number of references online to it long before the Sleepy Hollow episode aired. Let me know if you find it in a dictionary. I’d love to know the history of this word!

(See, television can be educational!)

1 comment:

S.H. Bausch said...

Spanish guitar music to bring you up and piano and or violin to mellow.

I find they help float the creative out of the muck and mire in my brain.

Spanish guitar is great for kitchen and cooking chores.