Monday, July 20, 2009


I like writing to the sound of golf on TV.
The hushed commentary and quiet applause provide a presence without distracting. And there’s all that soothing green grass when you do look up. 
Tennis is good too, although very distracting when Roger and Rafa play, but otherwise, I like the soft “pocks” and the relatively gentle commentary in the background, which let me think without feeling totally cut off from the world.
Of course, if Roger and Rafa are playing it's very distracting for another reason: their beauty of movement and extreme stretches and follow-through are too gorgeous for an artist to ignore.
     The BBC on low volume is also good for a companionable drone.
     Music, I find, is too distracting, it always sweeps me up and makes me listen exclusively to it, drowning out the voices in my head––wait, that doesn’t sound right­­––the writerly voices, I mean.
On the other hand, total silence and solitude freeze my brain. I keep rushing out to see if the world is still there. The trick is to find the right balance of companionable, reassuring and soothing sounds. My thought process, such as it is, needs to know there are people about, downstairs, next door, upstairs, just not right next to me, as I write. Household noises are conducive to writing: dish washing, pots clattering, children’s voices, birds chirping, the dull roar of city traffic with an occasional siren is good. But I just can't to write in the thundering quiet of the country. It's great to gambol about, relax in and paint in, but not to write in. Not for me, anyway.


Maxie said...

Enjoyed your post about background sounds to write by. I love writing in the country, birds, animal sounds and I love to write to music. I doesn't distract me, it gives me a sweep and a rhythm to write to, especially Bach. Makes my writing more structured. Sometimes TOO structured. Then I have to put on Mozart to get more lyrical.
Anyway, love your posts about agents, chocolate and animation. Look forward to more.

tearose68 said...

I like to write with soft sounds in the background. Music distracts me too.
I loved this post, made me really consider when and where I write.

Nora Lumiere said...

As long as I can hear some sign of life going on in the bakground, I can write. It's silence that's deadly for me.
Thanks for your comment.