The Ballad of Ink and Paper

My musical taste runs the gamut and my collection is fairly extensive. My cassette tapes were pushed out to the curb ages ago but I still hold onto my CDs (I have over 150+) as if my life depended on it. They hold so much sentimental value it’s really difficult to part ways with them. Back in the day there was no feeling like going to a Sam Goody’s on a Tuesday to check out all the new releases or hitting up a local record store like Electric Fetus searching for rarities and hard to find international versions. Purchasing that CD and looking at the artwork throughout the booklet, learning the lyrics to the songs and reading the production liner notes was an experience. I have highly considered buying a record player and collecting some vinyl and starting the music buying process all over again just so I can feel those same feelings I did way back when.

Music is such an influential aspect in my life. It’s the source of my creativity and my peace. A lyric, a rhyme, the melody, the bass line, a guitar lick, a piano run, a cool falsetto, a smooth baritone, some vibrato or timbre no matter the BPM…I’m all in. I write to it, I create with it, I drive to it, I sleep alongside it. It’s there with me through good times, bad times and all that gunk in between.

Music has played in the background to the majority of everything I’ve written except for my poetry. Rarely do I ever listen to music directly when I am writing poetry and if I do then it would be something along the lines of some Jazz-fusion, Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” (which I could listen to all day long on a continuous loop) or pretty much anything by Thievery Corporation…little to no vocals; majority instrumentation.

I approach music differently when writing screenplays or stories. Sometimes I create playlists of about 5-10 songs to listen to non-stop while writing a specific piece. There is a certain set of scenes I wrote for The Upside of Down where this couple went on a series of dates and the guy ends up meeting the singer Teena Marie who gives him some advice on love, so I listened to a handful of her songs to help create a vibe and write her in a way that I thought she would have responded. Sometimes I’ll choose a song to listen to on repeat while writing a scene to help me set a tone and get the characters in a certain mood. There was a script I wrote where the love interests were in the midst of a serious conversation so I listened to Res’ “Tsunami” as I wrote it. I made a mixtape for the actors to listen to when I filmed my short The Garden of Uneven that I felt set the tone of the film.

For me, music and writing go hand in hand and I am always on the hunt for new music to listen to or finding ideas for new stories to write within the music that I listen to.

QUESTION: Do you listen to music while you create? Do you have a favorite genre of music that you love to create to?