Having been out far too late on a Monday night at the Jens Lekman show (if you don’t know Jens, DEFINITELY worth checking out), I’ve had music on the brain all morning today. So, I was pleased to find this article from the New York Times “Draft” blog by Aaron Gilbreath on how Miles Davis influenced his writing style. Gilbreath draws an extremely effective analogy between Davis’ concision of phrasing and his own attempts at creating a stripped-down style.
But while it’s a very insightful piece of analysis, I had to wonder—was Gilbreath actually listening to Miles Davis while he was writing? In other words, did the music influence him while he was in the act of creating, or did he recognize the correlation between Miles and his writing later on?
I’m not posing these questions as criticism, but out of interest, because for years and years—going back to high school, even—I always wrote everything with the stereo on. And by and large, I never gave much thought as to whether what I was listening to was affecting my prose. It seemed like I managed to get words on paper with just about anything on in the background. Okay, I’ll admit I shied away from the loud stuff and the free jazz when I really had to concentrate, but not because I thought it might come out in my writing—forgive me, Music Gods, but sometimes Husker Du and Ornette Coleman just give me a headache…
Anyway, all of this is to ask: Do you write with music on in the background? If so, do you find the type of music dictates your style? Or, do you look to music (or other art forms) when you’re NOT writing as an influence on your style?