It’s Time to Face the Music

Hi everyone.

Today I want to talk about how I use music in my writing process.

First, let me say that music is an absolutely essential part of my life. I listen to music every single day – when I’m cooking, or doing the dishes, or just generally chilling after dinner; in the car, on the el, or the bus. It’s there, like nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide. It’s the air I breathe.

So naturally, music finds its way into my writing, too.

Like a lot of people, I discovered that “regular” music – you know the kind with people singing words – is too distracting while I’m actually writing. Songs have a funny way of taking up space in your head, and before you know it, you’re writing down the lyrics instead of your story. (Sure, it’s funny until someone gets sued.)

Anyway, now I listen to either instrumental tracks – usually classical things online – or “white noise” things I find on YouTube. My current favorite is a writer’s cabin in the woods. There’s a manual typewriter, a crackling fire, and a wet, drippy thunderstorm going on. It’s a kind of music, and it works for me. The only negative is that it makes me have to go to the bathroom. A lot.

 

 

 

 

I also use music to inspire me when I’m getting to know my characters. Like a lot of writers I put together playlists, one for each major character. These playlists always consist of songs that I feel represent these people – like, if they were in a movie, this is what you’d hear whenever they appear on screen. The songs become inextricably linked with the characters in my mind, so whenever I listen to them I learn new things about my people. It’s like magic and when I’ve picked the right songs for them, I end up loving them even more.

 

 

 

How about you? Do you use music in some form when you write?

I’d love to hear about it in the Comments section.

Thanks for reading.

 

Love and Gravity. Bitches be crazy. (Part 3)

For the past few weeks I’ve been comparing the nature and effects of love with those of another universal force – gravity.

Gravity represents classical physics here since it acts on the BIG stuff, like  planets, solar systems, stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and even the universe.

 

 

 

Love, in this analogy, stands in for quantum mechanics — that branch of physics dealing with the motion and interactions of subatomic particles — you know, the small stuff. Or, the human stuff. 

 

 

 

I know what you’re thinking — Why the hell did I click on this f!$%ing blog?!  Where’s the SMUT??

Patience, grasshopper.

Just like some of the early scientific theories humanity has come up with (spontaneous regeneration, the plum pudding model of the atom, and phrenology, anyone?), we have been getting it wrong for a long, long time. 

Because instead of viewing love as the force of nature it is, people have decided that there are kinds of love (as if there were kinds of gravity, too). Furthermore, there’s the idea that some kinds of love are better than others, and that the folks who give into the undesirable kinds of love are weak, degenerate, or just plain WRONG.

 

 

 

 

Now imagine giving voice to the idea that some kinds of gravity are better than others, and that the people who give into the wrong kind of gravity are somehow bad and inferior? And yet, here we are in the bright and shining 21st goddamn century still judging people on the kind of gravity they allow themselves to give in to!

Ridiculous, right?

 

So let’s sum up.

Gravity is an indiscriminate force of nature. Depending on the situation — for example, someone falling off a building — it can get messy. Gravity does not give a rat’s ass about what religion, society, or the various governments think about it. It just is.

Love is also an indiscriminate force of nature. Depending on the situation — for example,  someone falls in love with another someone and they have sex — it can also get messy. (Unless you use a condom.) Love doesn’t give a rat’s ass (possibly the same rat’s ass) about what religion, society, or government thinks about it either. It just is.

So if you  if you ever find yourself agreeing with the nitwits who think everyone who falls into the wrong kind of love should be punished and marginalized (I’m looking at you, all 73 countries in the world who criminalize LGBTQ people), for something they had no control over, then be my guest.

But just don’t get too close to that ledge, sweetie. Because you never know when some perverse force of nature will have its way with you.

 

Love. Resistance is futile. (Part 2)

Last week I talked a bit about my thoughts on the nature of love. I’d been thinking about it because I’d somehow found myself writing a novel with a love story in it.  (If you write, you already know — these things just happen.)

 

 

 

So… Love.

Ok, it’s like a force of nature — like gravity — that only affects living beings. 

Well, maybe.

Because what about quantum inseparability?  Is that just another form of love?  Like the raw, basic essence of it, the universal idea of love, sort of like Plato’s Ideal Forms? Is love intricately woven into the fabric of the universe? Of all universes?

And if so, what chance do we puny humans down here on Earth have? What chance do we have against such a powerful phenomenon? It’s like trying to fight against gravity. Sure, some people have done it (astronauts, astro- dogs, probably some astro-rats), but they’ve always  come back down  afterwards. Because … well, they can’t stay up there forever, right? Gravity is always tugging at them, dragging them back to Earth.

Continuing this idea that love, like gravity, is a force of nature, I say that love acts on us whether we want it to or not. (Kinda like the aforementioned gravity.) But unlike gravity, which is a huge, but weak, force in the universe, love is simultaneously huge and intimate. And unbelievably strong.

Love draws people together. It draws animals together (theories of biological determinism be damned), and it draws people and animals  together. And it may be what draws subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, planets, and galaxies together!

 

Let’s just agree on this for now: Gravity doesn’t discriminate and neither does love. Both do what they do with no regard for who they do it to.

Love is patient. Love is kind. (Wtf?) Part 1

A lot of people know that quote from Corinthians in the Bible. It’s a popular, and comfortable, way of looking at love. As such, it’s often recited at weddings where everyone smiles and nods. Every time I hear this definition of love it makes me think of a soft, cozy shawl.

However …

I’ve been working on my protagonist’s character profile this week, and it’s gotten me to thinking about love; because even though my novel is a sci-fi horror adventure in an urban setting, it’s also a love story.

Believe me, I was just as surprised as you are. I’ve never been interested in love stories, or romance (because, Duh, I mostly write horror. See my short story “Mercy Street” elsewhere on this blog), but there you are. This story wants to be told, and for some unknown reason, it’s picked me to tell it.

Consequently, I had to do some hard thinking on the subject of love. Like, what is it, where does it come from, and is there a cream available to get rid of it?

So the first thing that popped into my head is the idea that we have absolutely no control over love. It chooses you. You are love’s bitch. You don’t get to decide who to love, or when you’re going to fall in love, or where you’re going to be when it happens, or even when it will happen.

Love is basically a cosmic clown car careening around the corner just as you step off the curb. Wham!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In that regard, love remind me a lot of death. Or life.

At the same time, though, love often seems like a weapon wielded by some divine, hilarious prankster god, right? Because once love sets its sights on you it’s just like having one of those hellish Covenant plasma grenades attached to your body — no amount of running around and screaming will fix it. You are fucked.

That’s it for today.

Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your thoughts on love — please tell me in the comments down below. Thanks!