I Can’t Hear You
Eddy and I were talking the other day about writing habits and we decided that we were at opposites as to environments. He likes quiet.
I like racket. The more, the better. I wrote much of Demimonde at a bar, with a piano player banging away and the bar’s patrons staggering around all over the place. Their activity made me comfortable and energized, even though I wasn’t really paying attention to what they were doing. With the writing to focus on, I didn’t mind any of their shenanigans, I just let their ambient noise provide the fuel for the fire.
The opposite applies when it comes to music, however. I love to listen to music while I write, but it can’t have any lyrics. (So, yeah, I spent a lot of time singing along with that damn piano player instead of writing like I should have.) When I’m listening to songs as opposed to music, I either sing along or I work with the music in the background, but then when I think about it, I get distracted by the parts of the song I’m not hearing. That is, I occasionally remind myself that there’s an actual song going on, with somebody singing about something, and I get frustrated because I’m missing part of the song. So I’ll listen really hard to the song, which sends productivity to about zero.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense, sure, but that’s how it is. I work well with ambient noise. It’s not exactly reassuring like, say, the sound of the ocean when I’m trying to fall asleep. It’s more light having a fight go on nearby, but it’s okay because it’s not me having my ass kicked. I wonder if it’s the opposite — if the sound of activity surrounding me makes me comfortable knowing that the very sorts of things I’m writing about are happening around me on all sides.