Besides being an attractive place for a marketing geek/romance author with an hour to kill, the courtyard also serves as a magnet to area skate punks. The skate punks take turns lounging on the benches, spitting, smoking, cursing at each other, and occasionally attempting skateboard tricks (a process that involves several of the aforementioned activities).
During the months I’ve been visiting the courtyard to read, I’ve grown surprisingly fond of the skate punks. In my mind, we all belong to a gang.
This became the running joke with a girlfriend who owns a handbag boutique nearby. Since I generally stop by her shop en route to my reading spot, I make sure to keep her apprised of my gang activities.
“Sorry, can’t stay long,” I told her a few weeks ago. “My gang is teaching me to give tattoos with a safety pin and a ballpoint pen.”
“I understand completely. Make sure they show you how to hack those big loogies that stick to the sidewalk.”
“Will do. You want me to call you when they start the lesson on using a switchblade?”
And so on.
I was just starting to regard my gang as a vital part of my afternoon entertainment when everything changed.
Apparently, not everyone enjoyed the skate punks like I did. Tourists, in particular, weren’t fond of the spitting and cursing, so the downtown business association devised a plan to chase the skate punks away. They didn’t use police or pellet guns or tear gas.
They used Mozart.
The first few days after they started piping loud classical music through a state-of-the-art sound system, my gang looked confused. They sat on the wall with their chins in their hands seeming a little glum.
After a few days of that, they moved on. I’m not sure where they went, but apparently loud blasts of Bach weren’t creating the right mood for skateboarding and spitting.
I’m a little sad to see them go, and also reminded of how crucial music can be in setting the mood for anything.
As a writer, I need a constant stream of music to keep my butt in my chair and my fingers clicking away at the keyboard. When I’m focused on a particular book, I’ll create a playlist of songs that inspire certain scenes.
Life was a little less than ideal when I was writing the third book in my contract, Let it Breathe. The book came together while my marriage was coming apart, a process that (not surprisingly) resulted in a romantic comedy that wasn’t particularly romantic or funny.
Don’t worry – I whipped it into shape with the help of my fearless critique partners, beta readers, and amazing agent. There’s still some tweaking to do, but the book is in good shape now.
Recently, I was thumbing through the original iTunes playlist for Let it Breathe on my iPod. Halfway through the mix, the pal in the car with me frowned. “This music is kind of depressing.”
And damn if he wasn’t right.
Certainly my mood at the time I was writing the story impacted my musical choices, but it also stands to reason my musical choices impacted my writing.
I still have some tweaking to do on Let it Breathe before I hand it off to my editor, and you can be damn sure I’ll add some more upbeat songs to my playlist before that.
How does your mood impact your musical choices? How do your musical choices impact your writing? Please share!
And please let me know if you’ve seen my gang. They left without saying goodbye, and I really wanted to learn how to do an ollie on my longboard.