One of the biggest hurdles I have to face when writing at home is that I live in a teeny, tiny apartment. In other words, the TV is about five feet away from me when I’m trying to be productive. What I used to do is put on some idiotic TV show, just so that there’s some sound other than traffic and neighbors, but it always ended up distracting me.
Today, I wanted to get into some editing and decided that I really needed music instead of some dumb show. I managed to figure out how to stream music through my ill-used game system without straining myself too much (as a technophobe, that’s saying something).
Then I reached the next big decision. What to play?
This is a tougher question than one might assume. I’m a very picky music listener. I used to play in bands during High School and College, there’s not a lot I can stand and it was important that I find something conducive to writing. I couldn’t just put on anything, if the vocals were too loud, or the beat too techno, or a million other variations it wouldn’t work. I’ve tried writing to music before, but often found it as bad as TV.
So, what to play?
And here’s where we start down the rabbit hole that inspired this post.
My Dad is an amazing guy, talented in a million different areas. But, when I was growing up, his taste in music used to drive me INSANE. He used to buy the soundtracks to big budget movies and play them all the time. And I mean the original soundtracks, not just a bunch of bands thrown together. John Williams, Danny Elfman, etc. Last of the Mohicans, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, there’s dozens I know by heart.
At fourteen I’d be sitting at the dinner table, mentally stewing because “Why are we listening to this when I’ve got a perfectly good Nine Inch Nails album in my room?”
Among the many talents of my dad are he’s exceptional with photoshop, digital animation, video and photography, and graphic design. He spent so many hours in his office perfecting his work and it shows. Calling him a talented hobbyist would be a dramatic understatement.
All while listening to movie soundtracks and similar music.
As I perused my options today one stood out: movie soundtracks.
That’s perfect, right? The music varies, there’s a bit of every mood, there often aren’t big vocals or distracting flurries. It’s meant to be subtle but evoke emotion.
And it works perfectly for me. Now, when I’m writing I know what to pull up.
I had to laugh at myself a bit as the opening strains of Jurassic Park came through the speakers today. How many times had I complained about my Dad’s music choices and now they’re my go-to?
It’s also nice that every once and a while a familiar tune plays and I get a little smile thinking of him.