MUSIC-FRAMEWhat music (if any) do you listen to while you’re writing? I listen to a lot of different kinds of music to get inspired, depending on the project or character I’m working on, but once I’m rolling…

Sometimes I like silence. Sometimes I like public background noise (a cafe or library). But sometimes the music feels like it’s propelling the words, enhancing the flow – and nothing works as well for me as Bach’s English Suites No. 4, 5 & 6 (performed by Glenn Gould please!). Here’s why:

1) No vocals – I can’t write and hear lyrics at the same time, even if they’re in German.

2) Structure – I don’t really know much about music, but I know when a theme or motif is being varied or re-framed. I know when a piece is shifting from a major to a minor key. And I know when someone sticks a landing – and these pieces do it in a variety of ways, all of them satisfying. Sometimes they thunder to a close and sometimes there’s a little coda (or whatever you call it) at the end that recaps the theme or opening idea. I don’t exactly understand the structure, but I can feel it – much the same way readers don’t have to consciously identify a theme, motif or structural device in a book or script to appreciate it. If you do spot it, great. If you don’t, you still feel the coherence and unity.

3) Timelessness – Bach is obviously of his time, but there are also a lot of elements that seem really modern too. And in this music I feel a sense of primal propulsion, like Bach – and Gould – have plugged into a flow that exists before, and continues long after, the music per se. Something beyond time and space. That’s what I, and many writers, strive for in our writing. We should be so lucky to have people reading our work in 400 years!

Stream it here.