Forecast for the Future

"Every individual without exception bears a potential writer within himself. The reason is that everyone has trouble accepting the fact that he will disappear unheard of and unnoticed in an indifferent universe, and everyone wants to make himself into a universe of words before it's too late. 

Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not that far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."

- Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Week 4, Day 7: The Clock Is Ticking

So I've almost made it: 15 minutes until my week of aural solitude concludes. It's been a strange week for a lot of reasons, both related and independent of this project and this task. However, independent or not, all strangeness, weirdness, and discomfort I've experienced over this week has been undeniably "enhanced" by the constant near-silence I've experienced.

While I feel proud of myself for making it through this challenging week, I'm a little disappointed that my efforts haven't resulted in as much for whoever is reading this to digest. I had gone into this week thinking that it would be both relaxing as well as a great opportunity for me to get a lot down on the page, but one thing I've discovered through this exploration is the fact that listening to music is an essential part of the Jeffrey Beaumont writing experience, and that without it the task of writing becomes much more of a struggle.

I think there are two answers at work here, the first of which is the assumption which may seem obvious that "music is inspirational"--that good, powerful, carefully selected music can guide and empower moods and emotions, helping to stimulate whatever particular directions a writer is trying to focus his or her thoughts. It can be as simple as "I am tortured and feel alone and I put on the Elliott Smith self-titled to place myself in a flea-infested studio apartment in the city or in a cabin in the woods"; or sometimes it's listening to Music Has the Right to Children to get in touch with icy late-20th century anadigital isolationism. Even be Jimmy Buffett can you do you right and guide your mind if you're imagining sunny, summery, carefree breeze. Or sometimes you just want some Bach, or Gershwin, or ambient Eno, and they are an atmospheric bed of roses on which you can lie.

Hopefully you know where I'm going; in my experience, most people I know are able to connect with music in this sort of enriching fashion. But the other "answer" I've come to on music and writing, for me personally, is that I also utilize music to keep my massively ADHD brain focused and on track with the narrative of words I'm attempting to construct. For a lot of people music is a distraction, and while certain music in certain situations can be a distraction for me, mostly it serves to help calm the restless and curious part of my brain that remains active and searching even when the central part is trying desperately to work through an idea I've got that I'm trying to stretch into a "piece." This too is no "big news"; I know that people allover, especially today in the age of ultimate stimuli and distractions, experience the constant struggle to focus and stay clean. "Everyone has ADD." Maybe I'm no different than anyone else. But all I know is that my brain is a crazy motherfucker of non-stop thought processes and, try as I might, reining it in is a task that is usually beyond my abilities. Music, provided it isn't "too much" for that exact moment, gives me something for the crazy part of my brain to grab and hold onto, and if I'm controlling the music (rather than vice versa), I can use it help keep my secondary brain activity low and my focus on the primary high.

These are the first six songs I will listen to when the clock strikes midnight (I am a kid again! Let thee early 90s bring us together!!!!!!)--click to listen:

Guided By Voices - "Teenage FBI"

Guided By Voices - "Buzzards and Dreadful Crows"
Pixies - "Something Against You"
Archers of Loaf - "Web in Front"
Pavement - "Box Elder"

Vive la musique!

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Jessica said...

All I ever wanted was to be your spine...

Love that song.


ezruh sellof said...

Web In Front is perfect. I'm not even a little bit joking.

Anonymous said...

robert pollard is genius

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