To The Music

Spent the morning reading. I read a lot, but it tends to be snatches at work, or an hour here or there. Because I tend to have more than one book on the go, this means that it can take a while for me to get through a book unless it’s one of those rare and wonderful joys that implants itself in my head and won’t let go, won’t be told no.

But this morning I wanted a large chunk of time to just sit and read, so that’s what I did. I think I’m going to make Saturday mornings, Saturday being the Wednesday of my work week, my reading mornings. Just me, my jam-jams, a cup (or more) of coffee and the book de jour (de week?). I curled up in the papasan chair, the cats lazing about, lights low and the house utterly quiet. Sometimes you need quiet. With my job, I especially need quiet. But not always.

Now I’m frittering away the time I have before work catching up on websites, blogging, and swaying to some Glee-versions of classic songs. It’s something I forget, and regularly, that I as much as I need quiet, I also need music.

I can’t really sing. I can mimic something, get awfully close, but I’d never subject the universe at large to my singing. And back in school, while I had a general aptitude with a musical instrument (the flute, sadly), once I got to 16th notes, I couldn’t keep up. Didn’t help that a musical score looked like Sanskrit. I had to write the letters for the notes along the margins and would just trust that eventually I would learn the pattern with enough tries.

But I love music. And I feel its absence when I don’t indulge in it. My iPhone is steeped in podcasts, probably more than I can comfortably listen to if I include all the iTunes University courses I’ve downloaded, and my first instinct when I am out and about (said a-boat for any American readers) is to start listening to them. And if I do it too often, as good as those podcasts are, I start to lose the ability to go with the flow, to just be, accept, and move either with or around whatever obstacles are in my path. And I don’t know why. I’m cranky, snappish, even bullish, all wondering why the hell I feel so wound up.

And then I start playing music. Start singing along. Muscles ease. The burdens aren’t so heavy. The sky is blue. Remember blue? Yeah, of course you do, but that one perfect shade on a day of possibility stretching out ahead of you? You don’t always see that color. You gotta be looking, and you gotta be open and loose to see it.

On a practical note, I’ve come to understand that those playlists I build for my novels is really important not just to my productivity but to my motivation. I sneered at them before, thinking, “Aw, how cute. But unnecessary.” When I look back now, however, the times I played those songs while I wrote are often, though not always, the times when I felt most connected to the flow of the words and the world I created. So, no more sneers.

Just music.

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