(Our Denver-based friend and writer Mike Yost, who remains our friend despite that sportzball thingie that’s being played on Feb 2, wrote the following piece, which I should have posted 6 weeks ago. It originally appeared at Mike’s own blog here. Do you listen to music when you write?)
As an author, I listen to a wide variety of music while I write — from metal to electronic ambient to classical music. Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) is one of my favorites. The composition was inspired by one of Saint-Saëns’ own poems where death plays a violin at the stroke of midnight surrounded by skeletons dancing in their shrouds. Pretty damn metal.
Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club) once said in an interview that he prefers to draft novels in the waiting areas of emergency rooms, feeding off the noise and drama unfolding all around him. Hemingway is often attributed with the quote: “Write drunk; edit sober,” which I often do in noisy bars downing pint after pint of fermented liquid happiness. But several authors I work with can only pen the future great American masterpiece in complete silence.
For me, silence stifles my ability to write. It’s deafening. In truth, silence is really fucking distracting. It opens the black iron gates to that cacophony of shrill voices in my mind that come crawling out of the obsidian that is my subconscious—their pointed fangs and claws flashing white in the darkness just before sinking deep into my trembling eyeballs.
And it’s not easy to write with bleeding eyeballs.