Thursday, May 21, 2009

Torture Techniques for Writers

I'm one of those writers who works just fine in noise. And chaos. I'm great with chaos. So, I can pretty much write anywhere, any time. Silence I'm not so fond of, though. I hear things, distracting things, if it's all quiet. So, I work and write with music in the background. Rock music, for preference.

I also find music particularly inspiring. The right artist, album, or song can rev me for hours, sometimes days or even weeks. I have wide, eclectic tastes in music, so I have a huge music library to choose from. (Trust me, we're talking Empire Records/High Fidelity huge. Combined.)

This is great for me, because it means I can always get in the writing groove merely by turning on the iPod or stereo. It's not so great for my husband. Because he doesn't have the same deep and wide and eclectic musical tastes as I do. So he gets to listen to music he usually hates pretty much 24/7.

But, there's more. When I get on a one song kick, I will listen to that, and only that, for hours, usually days. Weeks isn't unheard of. Yes, you read that right -- one song, over and over and over again, ad infinitum.

The husband shared that this is not only a military torture technique, but apparently a really successful one. One song, played loud, over and over again, nonstop. It's working, making the enemy crack, and is considered a horrific thing to do to a person. To him, my musical listening habits sound like cause for Amnesty International to come and have a chat with his wife about her cruel and unusual punishments.

To me this sounds like I should get away from it all at Guantanamo Bay. A little R&R in a private room with a view, someone else slopping up the gruel, no worries about housecleaning, that one special song on repeat -- I'd have a novel done in like a week.

Years of sports-related injuries have also upped my pain tolerance. I pay money for people to hurt me in order to feel better when they stop. Clearly, I'm missing my true calling.

Ergo, I offer myself up to the State Department. I'll volunteer to go out for some super secret mission. They can rest easy with the knowledge that, if captured, I'll never crack.

Until then, it's time to get some writing done. For some reason, "I'm a Terrible Person" by Rooney is calling my name. Cannot imagine why.


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Blogger Benjamin Solah said...

I'm the same! I need something going on around me in order to concentrate. Music sometimes but only if I'm used to the song so I don't stop and listen to the words. Albums where all songs sound the same would be good for this.

Me thinks, the guards at Gitmo would work out we like this sort of thing and put us in solitary confinement. That would be torture.]

P.S. Thanks again for the kind words. I might find it hard to fit my head out the door though.

May 21, 2009 at 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Abby said...

I love music! I'll listen to the same song over and over and over again, while annoying the heck out of everyone. Glad I"m not the only one.

May 21, 2009 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger . said...

Single song listeners rule! We are legion! (Okay, so we are, currently, 3. That's still more than some groups have.)

And, we'd just have to ensure that we didn't APPEAR to like it. They'd never catch on to our little schemes. Besides, we could double-dog-dare them to see who'd crack first, us or them. My money's on us.

Oh, and Benjamin, there are a lot of pop and techno albums out there where every song sounds just like every other. Trust me.


May 21, 2009 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger James said...

They'd just have to take away your earmuffs, and you'd crumble...

May 22, 2009 at 7:28 AM  
Blogger . said...


I hear it's not exactly overly air conditioned there. ;-D

May 22, 2009 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Adrian in Phoenix said...

{Empire Records / High Fidelity} I love both those movies.

I find I work better when music is playing, particularly if it either has no lyrics, or the lyrics are very familiar. For times when difficult work must be completed, I have many CDs on my hard drive and use Windows Media Player to listen. When work isn't quite so pressing, I listen to local radio (KYOT & others) over the internet.

My normal habit of listening to talk radio while working is pretty counter-productive - not only do I listen to what they're saying, but sometimes I'm moved to write my congress-critters or local legislator.

June 8, 2009 at 2:09 PM  

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