Answers, the Eighth!

Good Lord, this really got away from me, didn’t it? What a strange month, September was. I figured to get ahead, but instead I fell behind! Oops. Anyway, we march on, with the remaining questions posed by a constant (and patient!) anonymous reader:

Do you have “comfort books”, that you read when life is tough?

I’ve actually had to think a bit about this, and it turns out…no, not really. There are quotes from books that I recall in times of stress, but even then, not too many. The words of Gandalf the Grey tend to be very meaningful to me, when he says, in reply to Frodo’s wish that the Ring had never come to him, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.”

I’ve known people who pick up the Bible or the Qu’ran or other such books when their lives are going through dark periods, but I’ve honestly never much been one to do that. I also don’t very often use my writing as a way of processing the demons, although I have done so in the past (here is an example). I’m not really sure if my reading really reflects the mood of my life’s “current events”, whatever those may be. Hmmmm…maybe it should.

How does the music you listen to vary with mood or stress?

Would you believe…kinda sorta the same way? Weird, huh?

Although, there are times when I do try to use music as a mood-enhancer, something to shake me out of my inner doldrums. Songs along this line include:

“Hello Goodbye”, “Octopus’s Garden” — The Beatles
“Dreams”, Van Halen
“Land of Make Believe”, Chuck Mangione (the 12-minute liver version, though)
“Human”, the Killers (no, the lyrics do not make any sense, but what an infectious song anyway)
“Dancin’ in the Street”, the cover by David Bowie and Mick Jagger (Shut up, I like it.)

And so on.

When I listen to music while writing, I find that nearly anything works. I don’t try to match music to the mood of the work in progress, although sometimes I do that. I might listen to Star Wars or Star Trek music while writing one of the Princesses books, or perhaps some horror music while writing GhostCop, but not always. I like to use music as a way of shutting out the world a bit while I work, but I don’t always try to match the music’s mood to the writing’s mood.

Sometimes, if I’m writing a scary scene, the music’s mood can actually create a nifty feeling of incongruity. I like when this happens. It reminds me of Johnny Mathis’s “Chances Are”, a song which forever creeps me out because of its brilliant use in the abduction-of-Barry scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

More answers to come, I promise!

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