Writing in Musical Flow


Somebody once told me that if I took the time to learn how to play piano, it would make me a better writer. I think that applies to learning any musical instrument, and frankly, it makes sense. I savor reading anything that evokes a musical pattern in my brain while I’m reading. Some examples for anybody who wants to check out exquisitely beautiful writing are: “Jazz,” by Toni Morrison; just about all of the early work of Truman Capote like “The Grass Harp,” “The Thanksgiving Visitor,” and “A Christmas Memory” – all of these predate “In Cold Blood.”

Years ago, I wrote my breakout story, “Ella Bandita and the Lone Wolf,” to the soundtrack of Amelie. That beautiful, haunting, and romantic music by Yann Tiersen soared through the room as I sat on a bunch of pillows, writing on a wicker occasional table, feeling that excitement when one knows one has landed on something GOOD. “Ella Bandita and the Lone Wolf” was originally written as a fable I could tell in 1½ hours. Since then, the story has expanded to the novel, “Ella Bandita and the Wanderer,” which I tell in excerpts and parts.

Be that as it may, that original story was influenced by the music I listened to as I wrote it. When I read it now, I can still hear the rhythms and melodies of the “Amelie” soundtrack, and all I can think is..


I did not take Andrew’s advice to learn piano because I don’t gravitate towards that instrument, but someday I might give it a try with guitar. Or something.

In the meantime, I should probably do my final rewrites to music. I’d love for the flow of melody and lyricism to influence my work and make it more beautiful. Wouldn’t you?

So give it a try. I think music also helps with releasing writer’s block.