Today’s exercise discusses the use of music in writing. I have to write a story in which music forces the protagonist back to a specific point in time and cause them to re-evaluate their life.
Obviously I’m not going to rush into writing something which is essentially a short story, not this late in the evening when I have to be up for the day job at stupid o’clock in the morning. I have only just thought about doing any writing, to be perfectly frank.
I’ve had a busy day. This morning wasn’t great. I found out my employer had lost the holiday form I submitted for the first weekend in February, when I’m going to London (did I mention that I’m going for my annual trip to the capital in three weeks? I can’t wait). I had to do a lot of running around to sort that out, and while I was visiting work I had to deal with some crap from last weekend. I got so stressed I started crying. I suppose it’s a good job some of the management have a soft spot for me really; I’d have lost my job long ago if they weren’t so understanding about my mental health problems.
It’s a thought that terrifies me, losing my job I mean. It’s happened once in the past; a sudden redundancy has left me with a fear of losing everything I’ve worked to gain. But, that’s the subject of another post I suppose. Back to my horrendous morning.
Because I’m mad I thought it would be a good idea to go to college to do an assessment, and write a blog post scheduled for Sunday. I got a little wound up by both, and compounded the stress by going shopping.
I hate shopping. There’re people. Especially on Fridays.
Sometimes I bring these anxiety fits and depressions on myself.
So the only thing for it, to save my sanity, and the population of Immingham from some cruel fate, was to get myself some fish and chips, put The Two Towers on and read a really fascinating travel memoir that I’m reviewing (review due 31st January – I have an actual deadline); sometimes it’s the only way I calm down.
So, since I’m not going to post my work for this exercise tonight , and no one really wants to hear about my day, or my occasional minor breakdowns, I thought I’d take the time to write about music and my writing.
Some of my best memories of childhood are Saturday mornings getting ready to go to town with my family and dancing round the sitting room with my dad. I can see the sun streaming in through the window, Phil Collins or Chris Rea on the CD player. Before that, a few years only I suppose, being fascinated by my parent’s vinyl collection. All the pretty pictures.
As I got older and went to secondary school I lost interest in music; it had never been a major part if my life anyway. Just as my classmates were discovering music I was hiding among words. Books saved my life back then, and kept me just the right side of sane. Any self-confidence I had disappeared at secondary school and as I became more introverted the further from popular culture I travelled. I had no interest in the music we danced to at school discos, I didn’t watch much television or go to the cinema, I barely went out. I read.
Sixth form was different. I’d become quite badly depressed by this point, and less able to hide behind general mardiness. One of the things about our sixth form was it’s size. It wasn’t very big, and the less people there were the more comfortable I became. We had a stereo system, paid for by the students. Which was fantastic, right up until the point when people realised just how diverse the musical tastes of the student body was. When half the students wanted pop the other half wanted something a bit louder. It made for some interesting arguments. The background music to my last two years at school was a mix of Green Day, Foo Fighters, Slipknot and whatever pop music was on the radio at the time.
Sometimes I wonder, if I’d paid attention would I have found a way out of my depression earlier, would I have embarked on the studies I did if I’d had that influence in my life?
Between 2001 and 2011 music didn’t make an impression on me. I tried, at uni, to take an interest but nothing really touched me. It was an emotionally traumatic time and I couldn’t spare the energy. After graduation I was too busy surviving the adult world that I was completely unprepared for to think about much else.
My life has been lived in a musicless, grey cocoon. Despite my efforts I have been oblivious to everything around me.
In 2009 I met again, because I’d first met them in 2006, two friends. One has always been a big music consumer and she infected me with her interest. It’s all Lellibo’s fault! And Spotify. And Kerrang!
HIM, MCR and a few others bare some responsibility as well. If they weren’t so fantastic I’d never have taken any notice of the music Lellie was playing in the background while we were being sociable.
Oh, what a scary world of fandom I dived in to.
I listen to music all the time now, one of my favourite hobbies is going to gigs. I write to music. At first it was just to block out the babble around me but then I found, depending on what I was listening to, the music affected the tone of my writing. It triggers emotional responses and that directs my writing. I’ve even written the odd short story inspired by a song.
I can’t imagine my life or my writing without music now. I wonder how I managed to survive as long as I did without it. Music inspires me, to keep going, to keep writing, to live my life the way I want it to be.
Fifteen years later than most people is better than never I suppose.
And now I’ve been writing for an hour, I’m tired and considering a good bawl before bedtime (looks like the afternoon de-stressing wasn’t as successful as it could have been), so I shall say good night and have a splendid weekend.
Back tomorrow with today’s exercise.