I love music and can’t go a day without listening to it. When my PTSD, now thankfully long gone, was at its very worst, watching television only festered it. The pictures on the screen only reminded me that others lived their lives while I hid from mine. Some days, I would sit in the kitchen feeling desperately ill and lonely, wondering if I had a future beyond the four walls I’d imprisoned myself within.
One day, frustrated and tired of the infernal silence, I picked up my mobile and played some music. The quiet receded and its place in the form of notes and chorus emerged a smattering of hope. Within minutes, I went from a vague numbness to feeling alive. From then, I purposely integrated music into my daily life, seeing the silence in the room not as an echo of my existence but a space in which to share another’s creation.
I don’t do reality television or the soaps, no judgement; they just do nothing for me. Instead, I’ve got a weird fascination with National Geographic documentaries on bigfoots, crop circles and a near obsession with Game of Thrones. These wide ranging tastes also run to my playlist. I’m an eclectic music lover, refusing to be tied down to a particular type of music instead enjoying a love affair encompassing a little bit of everything. In all honesty, given a choice between the glass box in the corner and music, there’s no choice to be made but one of mood and memory.
For nostalgia I love the classics; Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Doris Day among them. I have a soft spot for musicals; an interest fostered by my Nana and can’t help but smile when I hear ‘My Favourite Things’ from The Sound of Music.
For adrenalin, I need rock that gets your heart racing and threatens to burst your ear drums, in the form of the Foo Fighters, Linkin Park and AC-DC. I prefer live performances, reminding me of sore hands and feet from attending concerts on a school (work) night, showing a raw version of the song, more in tune with what the musician wanted to communicate when they wrote it.
I have a burgeoning love affair with classical music, more to do with appreciation than knowledge of the pieces performed. I’ve always loved Pachelbel’s Canon in D and The Flower Duet, and am of the humble opinion that ‘Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis’ performed at Proms 2012 is the best piece of classical music…ever.
I love film soundtracks enjoying the quiet instrumental pieces from ‘The Grey’ and the ‘Last of the Mohicans’. I admire the selection of music by Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino that cleverly cultivate music as a pivotal character within their stories. The opening scenes of ‘The Departed’ played against ‘Gimmie Shelter’ by The Rolling Stones is an act of genius.
I like the quirky individual. The random songs you hear once and stay with you forever like ‘Chan Chan’ by Bueno Vista Social Club and ‘Homelands’ by Nitin Sawhney. I like the cheeky fun ones. I loved ‘Blurred Lines’, or ‘burnt water’ as my Mum once referred to it, with its hypnotic beat that I couldn’t help tap out with my fingers.
Music syncs easily with the scary and exhilarating life I’ve created for myself. I love the unpredictable nature and its aberration from routine. When you hear a song for the first time, you’ve no idea what words will be sung, what direction a verse will take or what form the chorus will follow. You have no idea why you like it or you don’t. There’s no logic involved instead only the undefinable. The magic that sparks from the creation and resonates with you, creating a connection and embedding a memory that stays with you forever.
For me, it’s the same when I write; I never analyse the reason or purpose to the images spilling from my head onto the blank page, only seeing myself as the conduit responsible for capturing the words. At first, they appear messy and incoherent until the moment when everything clicks into place. I have same experience with reading. I can’t explain why I feel like I’m eating a smooth bar of galaxy chocolate every time I open the latest Nora Roberts. There’s a secret ingredient, a connection between the words and the experience that makes your soul sing. As a writer, it’s my hope I can deliver this experience to my readers.
When I began writing, I started a You Tube playlist that would play in the background. I have a knack of separating the two acts, managing to keep one ear on the music in the background and another on the images playing on my head. Sometimes, I sought solitary silence, especially when I was held within the grip of the last three chapters of my trilogy. I was so consumed with the world I’d envisioned in my head, and dreaded ending the story I loved, I needed the silence to cushion the myriad of emotions overwhelming me.
The power of invention is extraordinary, lifting you from the place you were faltering to where you’re meant to be. Whether its music, art, photography or film. Your production is your opus. It’s sparks and lights a passion inside you that will never burn out. Making you believe the impossible can come true.
So, if I could leave you with one parting wish this week, I would like it to be this; turn up the volume and follow the yellow brick road. Let yourself be swept away. Chase the undefinable and trust it will illuminate at the exact moment it’s meant to. It’s worth the wait. I promise you.