If music be the food of love; play on.
Orsino’s line in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night gives evidence that the relationship between music and writing goes back millennia.
Which makes sense as both are creative mediums that make use of words to create works that can stir the soul.
And so music has played a significant role in both my life and my writing.
· In the soul
· AT Play
· The Paranormal
· Create 1
· Create 2
· In the soul II
· Communication 2
IN THE SOUL: I was raised in a family that loved and appreciated music.
I have danced to tunes on 8-track, vinyl (45 and LP), cassette, CD, mp3.
I grew up with a well-rounded appreciation for genres and artists.
In no particular order and far from all-inclusive: The Classics (Brahms Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, etc) The Andrews Sisters, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Elvis Presley, The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Kingston Trio, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Cream/Eric Clapton, Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson, Led Zeppelin, Cher, The Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, CSNY, The Moody Blues, The Monkees, Fleetwood Mac, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Styx, Queen, J. Geils Band, Blue Oyster Cult, CCR, Blondie , AC/DC, Hall & Oats, Men At Work, Van Halen, Yes, Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Motley Crue, Krokus, Guns ‘N Roses, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne.
You’ll notice the lack of Grunge. That has a simple explanation: Corporate Black Hole. Okay, maybe not so simple but it would take an entire article to explain that. Maybe I’ll do a video instead.
PLAY: I started playing snare drum, but the nuns frowned on that, so I was forced to switch or face nasty repercussions.
After switching to a more “female appropriate instrument” – clarinet – I played for thirteen years, including playing with a school orchestra. I also learned piano and dabbled with tenor sax.
I enjoyed clarinet. I played b-flat and spent most of my time as 2nd part which I really liked.
I turned down switching to oboe or bassoon when prompted by the conductor. Years later, I was rebuffed when I wanted to switch to tenor sax and join a high school jazz band. The guy said, “I have four saxophones a flute, and a clarinet, and you want to do WHAT?!”
HEALTH: In the process of researching EMF Sensitivity, I discovered that certain types of music reduced and/or alleviated symptoms.
Years of talking with various musicians and percussion professionals about the phenomenon turned up no explanation.
Though two of them insisted Heavy Metal wasn’t really music. Uh-huh. Tell that to…
Aaron stumbled on the pattern/beat that was common in the songs that were most therapeutic and was able to introduce me to a number of new artists and songs that were equally so.
ALL HEAVY METAL!
Judgement? I remember feeling outraged at the hauling of rock musicians in front of US Congress to “answer” for their supposed contribution to the deterioration of mental health in youth.
Weren’t these the same people who grew up with (gasp) the gyrating on stage Elvis and (gasp gasp) have you seen that Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy album cover?
I distinctly remember my paternal grandmother telling me rock and roll groups such as the Beatles were going to destroy the youth of our country. That youth? The Baby Boomers.
Soon after my brain surgery I realized listening to heavy metal music was soothing.
At the time it was limited to AC/DC – the Back in Black album – and I didn’t BLAST the music like you sometimes see in movies.
Not long after stumbling on this EMF Sensitivity remedy, I read of a study in Australia that showed heavy metal music relieves depression and helps with other emotional and mental challenges in people.
Years later I learned what it was about the music that did the trick.
Which leads to
THE PARANORMAL: What would my life be without a bit of paranormal flare woven through?
The first paranormal event has a 2-part explanation.
2012 A: Desperate to escape the cold and snow of April in Fort Collins, my family and I went to Vegas for the weekend. While staying at the Hard Rock Hotel, I encountered a ghost.
I don’t know whether he was in the hotel and sensed someone who could communicate with him or if he was in the room already.
I didn’t recognize him though he’d been a successful musician.
Even after I learned who he was I was not impressed.
After asking and receiving family permission he accompanied us back to FC.
Yes, after hearing his request I really did ask if it was okay. I also laid down ground rules about not disrupting life in the household – aka no scaring people, etc.
2012 B: It quickly became apparent that our music tastes differed.
One day while I was vacuuming out the back of the Ford Escape my ghostly friend, who I’d nicknamed ET, switched the radio station.
To a station playing one of his tunes.
I switched it back.
2012 C: While traveling to South Dakota to visit the Crazy Horse Monument and Mount Rushmore, ET woke us up by shoving the clock radio to the floor bright and EARLY, being sure to turn on the radio.
To a song that left us with zero doubt as to who was responsible.
I rolled over and buried my face in the pillow while he laughed and said, “You said you wanted to get an early start.”
2012 D: I wasn’t sure whether or not ET would follow us when we moved from CO to AZ.
You can guess.
Still miffed that I didn’t like his music he downloaded a bunch of his tunes onto my iPod.
Aaron could not figure out how it happened, but he couldn’t argue that the songs ended up there in a manner I would not have known how to do. Not to mention they are the least likely songs for me to have selected.
2015: While typing an email to a friend about this friendly mischievous spirit, ET switched my laptop iTunes to play a song that had lyrics that matched a sentence I had just typed.
Yep, I freaked about it which equates to typing sh*t sh*t sh*t, you’ll never believe what he just did!
The song was one of the ones he’d loaded in AZ.
I couldn’t even tell you the name of it. I was that disinterested in these particular songs.
Eventually, he and I came to an understanding about music. I’m open to new artists and he accepts that though he may not appreciate certain genres, he does appreciate that they bring me joy.
Though sometimes he will ask me to “please” turn the stuff – usually 80s New Wave – off.
2018 EMF Sensitivity Music Solution Solved: After years of trying to understand what it was about the music that made it ideal for reducing/alleviating EMF Sensitivity symptoms, thanks to ET, I got my answer.
One evening while I was in my living room searching yet again for an explanation, ET sat on the arm of the chair, leaned over and said, “Stratocaster.” From there he guided me to and through a number of websites that explained the method to the madness as it were.
The Muse is not a ghost. In fact, I’m still working out how to refer to him.
Though some of the playlists were no-brainers since the songs were literally integrated into the storyline, others were introduced in a unique way.
Let’s just say I’m so grateful for Shazam which allowed me to capture songs as they were introduced to me seemingly “at random.”
Sometimes several in a row on a radio station, other times something played in a restaurant or a store I was in.
CREATE 2: Starting about a year ago the Muse began creating playlists on his own.
He took control of my laptop iTunes and began moving between my library and Apple music playing songs in a sequence that was perfect for a variety of novels, including Dragon Core stories.
COMMUNICATION: Shortly thereafter the Muse began taking control of my iTunes library on my iPhone.
He would play what he wanted, often switching between songs from my library and songs from Apple music that I do not have.
I didn’t even need to be touching it. It could be across the room playing a playlist I started and suddenly switch to music HE wanted – “at random.”
I quickly learned he did this when trying to get my attention.
The second time this happened I paid attention to the songs and quickly picked up “the message.”
IN THE SOUL II: Since really tuning into the music, the themes, I’ve come to see the Muse is alive and well and works with writer and musician alike.
Soul siblings apparently.
I have created two separate playlists of songs by a variety of rock artists that lead me to believe they were connected to or aware of or drawing attention to the Muse.
COMMUNICATION 2: This morning I was contemplating what writing project I should work on next when the Muse weighed in with an opinion by taking control of my iPhone music.
While it was across the room.
I’d been putting off writing The Muse in Music for weeks. In selecting the playlist HE wanted – the particular songs – he let me know HE felt it was time I did this piece.
As Orsino would say, Slainte!