Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Life is Not a Bowl of Cherries

And a bunch of coconuts is not lovely.

Who writes these song lyrics anyway?

This is one of the reasons I don't listen to music while I'm writing. I can't help listening to lyrics, and sometimes the lyrics confound me. I try to analyze them, figure out what the lyricist was trying to say.

Like that one in which Cheryl Crow insisted:  "I'm not going to write you a love song because you want me to, etc. etc." For some reason, that song always made me feel anxious. It translated to me telling my editor that I wasn't going to accept her suggested changes just because I thought my writing was so brilliant I didn't need to fix anything. Yikes!

I'm not saying all song lyrics are dumb. Some are just too hard to figure out. For instance, I love the music to Black Horse and the Cherry Tree and I love the sound of K.T. Tunstall's singing, but I don't understand the lyrics at all. That kind of thing is very distracting if I want to focus on pacing and plot and character in my wip.

One of you no doubt is wondering why I don't stick to classical music with no singing. It's because I tune it out. If I'm tuning it out, I'm not enjoying the music as it was meant to be enjoyed. Classical music is for sitting in my easy chair with a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate and giving the music my full attention.

Nope, no music while I'm writing. I want absolute silence.

Absolute silence is a thing of beauty.

Absolute silence is a bowl of cherries.

Shhh. Now write.


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - I agree completely that some song lyrics don't make a lot of sense. I am very much a music person, myself. I always have a song in my mind, and of course, the car radio on, etc.. And that's why I don't listen to music either when I write. I get too distracted by music. And you're right about silence - when you're writing, it's bliss...

Julie Luek said...

There was a song in the 70s called "Nights in White Satin" which has a spoken poem in the middle of it. Songs like that make me think too hard (not to mention I used to think it was Knights in White Satin, and was waiting for a medieval theme.)

Anyway, I digress. Like you, I prefer absolute silence with just the hum of my refrigerator and tick of a clock. If I get a wild hair I may listen to some non-word almost non-tune meditation music. I once tried to listen to country music, but "honky tonk badonkey donk" just left me way to0 confused. ;)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Margot, I wish I could tell of long days of blissful writing in silence...but just now a dog howled as though it was baying at the moon. Lots of dogs in my neighborhood.

Hi Julie. "Honky tonk badonkey donk" would be so distracting I'd have to chair boogie and sing along. Does not help the pacing in the wip.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Most lyrics are nonsense, especially from pop groups.
I am good at tuning out the lyrics and just enjoying the music though. I don't write well to silence.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Alex, I know a lot of writers who must have some kind of background music or white noise in order to focus. Maybe that helps drown out the howling dogs?

John Paul McKinney said...

Pat, Speaking of "hard to figure out," what about the oldie from the 1940s: "Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe?"
Now there's a distraction. I guess that, like Alex, I prefer music when I'm writing and I can ignore the lyrics.

Patricia Stoltey said...

John, you are so right...but that's one of my favorite songs, so I'd have to stop and sing along. :)

LD Masterson said...

I like to write in silence.

I grew up on music with lyrics we could understand, if not interpret. Now I can't make out a word they're singing and with today's lyrics, I'm very grateful.

Patricia Stoltey said...

LD, I don't try to hard to listen to the lyrics either. I sure do love a good tune though.