Dark Intervals

7 Dec

One big advantage of having a dedicated writing space is the reduced need for setup time.  You can have everything you need (desk, chair, pens and pencils, reference books)  set up exactly the way you need them.  You can even leave the manuscript you are currently working on right out in the open so that at the start of your next scheduled writing time, you need waste no thought or energy on preparation.  You can sit down to the task of writing and begin.

For years I had no such luxury, no writing room, no dedicated place to write, and so it became necessary to improvise writing space, and grab what time I could in any reasonably tranquil place near my home.

One item I learned to utilize to the fullest is the zippered binder, which I taught my self to load up with what I needed and use as a portable writing studio(see the Faves page of this website).

Another tool I have learned to use to the fullest is music.  In the same way that having a prepared writing spot can save setup time, familiar, non-distracting music can serve to prepare space in the mind.  Music, if used judiciously, can be a very useful shortcut to the state of consciousness necessary to create.

Most people who listen to music as they write prefer instrumental music, as lyrics can clang against the words you’re struggling to shape for yourself.  My personal all time favourite is the solo piano work of Keith Jarrett.  Specifically, I have a CD (now uploaded onto my Ipod) called Dark Intervals, which follows part of a concert Jarrett gave years ago in Japan.  The material traces a range of techniques and emotions, from spare minor key melodic tinkerings through outrageous, dissonant cataclysmic barely structured torment and back again.  At about an hour in length, the album is perfect for my current one hour in the morning writing routine.

I have listened to this music hundreds and hundreds of times while writing over the years.  And I so associate the act of writing first draft material with Dark Intervals that in a typical session, barely have the opening chords of the first tune started when I’ve up with the pen, my imagination flashing, my hand struggling to keep up.  By the intense emotionality of the album’s third quarter, I’m scribbling away like a demon.


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