Music As Muse

Posted by Cinthia Hamer | 7:37 AM | 2 comments »

This article originally appeared in The Galley, the newsletter for Georgia Romance Writers. Subsequently, it was reprinted in several other RWA chapter newsletters.

I'm sitting here listening to Andrea Bocelli's Viaggo Italiano, and it occurred to me that it's extraordinary and often wonderful how music can affect our moods and more importantly, our creativity.

The gray days of winter seem to sap the life out of me and can easily put my creativity into a state of semi-hibernation if I’m not vigilant.

Right now I'm on rewrites of Opus #5, which is set entirely in Italy. After reading through the first draft, I discovered that I needed to make some radical changes. This necessitated inserting a whole new chapter between two previously written ones. This is about as easy as putting on a bra while wearing a pullover shirt. It's doable, but tricky and not something I want to attempt when I’m not at my best.

My solution to this dilemma is simple:

If I'm feeling stressed or blocked, all I have to do is put on a CD of Italian music and close my eyes for a few minutes. In my mind’s eye I can see the Roman Coliseum, the rolling hills of Tuscany, and the blue-green waters of the Amalfi coast.

Slowly the muscles in my shoulders and neck unknot, and the endorphins begin to seep though my body and into my brain. A sense of well-being and happiness floods through me.

Then I think about my characters. They live here in this beautiful country. What are they doing right now, this minute?

It’s market day in the town where Elise lives. What is the weather like today? Is the sun shining so brightly she must wear her sunglasses or is it drizzly and cool?

What is she shopping for? What does she smell? Ripe strawberries perhaps? Maybe a farmer’s wife offers her a sample of the fresh cheese she has for sale. What does Elise hear? The cluck of a chicken or the laughter of two old men reminiscing beneath the shade of a nearby tree?

After a few minutes of thinking, I find I can return to my computer with renewed energy and eagerness to put fingers to keyboard. Sometimes my thoughts flow faster than my fingers can type. This is good. This is what the writing life is all about.


  1. Mona Risk // August 28, 2007 at 3:33 PM  

    I'm a big fan of Andrea B. Can't get enough of his voice, but I need total silence when I write.


  2. Mary Marvella // August 29, 2007 at 1:36 AM  

    We each write to different tunes, or even silence.