Writing Without Words

Every writer is different. Some can write with all kinds of ambient noise going on, some need complete silence. Some can write to music, even songs. I can often write to two specific kinds of music – jazz and classical. But I can’t write to any kind of music if it has lyrics. And forget writing if the television is on. If I hear words while writing I get so caught up in the words my ability to focus on my writing, whatever its worth, goes out the window, or down the drain. Take your pick.

There are some writers who can write in any environment. Michael, the person I am closest to in the world and one of the best writers I’ve ever encountered, in person or on the page, can write sitting in the middle ring of a three ring circus while the circus is performing for a standing room only raucous crowd. I don’t know how on earth he does it and frankly I am jealous as hell.

As I write this morning I am listening to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Number 4 in G, Op. 58. For me there is no better companion than Beethoven. He is as welcome in my world as oxygen is.

If you’ll allow me a moment to stray from the theme of this piece, Beethoven, along with the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are the four sources of music and song closest to my heart and soul. Believe me, I love a wide range of music, but those four do me just fine. As for Beethoven, I’ve literally been listening to his music since before I could walk. I loved classical music all my life. My parents would tell me, however, that there was always something about Beethoven that seemed to reach the center of me. Still true. The closest to that would be Springsteen followed by a third place tie between the Beatles and Dylan.

Having said all that I have thus far, there are times, many of them, when I need total silence when I write. Times where the place writing takes me to is so, what are the words,  delicately focused, that any ambient sound will shatter the sentences in mid-air and they’ll never reach the page.

There is certainly no right or wrong about all this. The task is to get the words on the page. And, as always, there are exceptions to the rule. There is one in my case. I can listen to Springsteen while turning loose specific forms of poetry and prose.

Anyway, time for another cup of coffee and some more Beethoven.

Be well. Take care of yourselves.


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