Use Music to Incite the Creative Beast

Dear Reader,

When “The X Files” writer Chris Carter would sit down to create episodes for this TV series, he’d often crank up the volume on the sinister-sounding song “Red Right Hand” (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) and listen to it over and over again. When the John Cage character in “Ally McBeal” (I know, I know, this example is dated) wanted to envision himself as a love machine rather than the date dolt he was, he stood in front of a bathroom mirror and sang “I Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” a la Barry White. They both used music to incite a creative part of themselves, the beast.

How do I use music to incite my creative beast? When I work on my screenplay about a woman stranded in a desert, I churn up her dread and tension by listening to the soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’s movie “Dead Man.” And when I require playfulness after too many hours of seriousness, I sing along to “The Sound of Music,” specifically “Do-Re-Mi.” Once I switched on Keith Jarrett’s “Köln Concert” CD, background music to help me focus on a writing project. But Jarrett’s music insisted I write a poem in response to it and drop the writing project. And I did. I suspect this is not unusual.

dead mansound of musicthe koln concert

Dear reader, what music incites your creativity?

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2 Responses to “Use Music to Incite the Creative Beast”


  1. 1 closerocean 10/09/2010 at 5:08 pm

    You may be inspired by my project, which was combining a Nobel Prize winning poet (Wislawa Szymborksa) with music. The result is the release from my band, Closer Ocean. Szymborska won the Nobel prize in 1996. Her poetry is transcendent, inspirational, simple and yet surprisingly complex. The music is cinematic, intellectual, indie rock.

    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/CloserOcean

    http://www.closerocean.com

    Thanks for listening!!!

  2. 2 Faye Quam Heimerl 10/09/2010 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks for this info. I’ll be sure to look into your recording.


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