Day 21 and a playlist for writing

Day 11 was a third of the way through this project and I decided to take a little break from paragraphs and share some music with you. To that end, day 21 is the two-thirds point so I’m back with another musical entry.

I was talking with one of my best friends about … honestly, I don’t remember what started the conversation but somehow we got onto the subject of mixed/compilation CDs I had sent her over the years and how those are pretty much the only things she listens to in her car, driving to and from work, and whatever else. I realized that it had been a long time since I’d made her a CD and set about gathering songs to do just that.

Comp CDs are a strange little hobby I developed, kind of through my last real, bonafide, legitimate relationship. He was a music fanatic. His brother and his girlfriend did a thing where they made mini-CDs that held somewhere around 8 or 10 songs and passed them out, for free, at various places, as a way to introduce people to their favorite bands (this is probably technically illegal, piracy or something, but I still think it’s a super cool idea). They would make elaborate labels and covers, which generally had nothing to do with the music on the discs, rather just a random image they had manipulated and turned into a CD label and cover. And my boyfriend adopted that hobby as his own, making CDs for me on several occasions, and sharing them with friends all along the way.

More often than not, they were completely self-indulgent, just songs he liked and wanted me to hear. They really didn’t follow a theme (other than he was a hopeless romantic so more often than not they were love songs…), but they were quite good, always flowed well together, never with any harsh changes in sound or cadence.

And I adopted that hobby from him. And his brother. Now, I put hours of work into creating a CD for someone plus at least half as much time and effort into creating a label and cover art for my CD. It really is a labor of love for me.

As time went on, CD exchanges became a regular thing. I would sign up to do them with various groups all the time. We did them a couple of different times as part of a Secret Santa project with the Kill Hannah Kollective, and there is always a CD swap on the NaNoWriMo forum/message boards.

The thing about the NaNo CD swap is it tends to be whatever the curator is listening to to inspire their NaNo novel. It might be what their protagonist listens to while they’re at the gym or it might be a selection of music that fits the overall feel, the ambience or atmosphere, of their novel. I definitely listen to music when I write and I try to make the music fit what I’m writing but I have not really been able to create full playlists to go along with a novel I’m working on or even to soundtrack a specific character (who are my FMC’s favorite bands, that sort of thing…). I get about five or six songs into the playlist and run out of inspiration.

I have one playlist that works pretty well for what I had in mind when I created it. I’d like to add more to it but I’m not sure what. I have been working on a novel for several years. It takes place in the not-so-distant future (20 or so years from now…ish). Things that are concerns now – Islamaphobia, homophobia, racism, sexism – have developed to the point of pandemonium and dystopia. The general feel I want for the story is dirty, gritty, raw, action-packed – kind of a Divergent, Hunger Games sort of atmosphere. So I set about picking music that puts me in that headspace. And I ended up with 25, so far, basically 2 hours worth of music.

And now that what started out as me just giving you music to listen to has snowballed into a legitimate blog post about my strange inability to curate a playlist to correspond with what I’m writing even though I love making CDs for people….blah blah blah… I am going to pop a link to the above mentioned novel playlist here and leave it at that.

Sometimes you just have to know when to walk away.

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