Finding the Write Key

By Hilary Berg, OWP Managing Editor

As I begin writing this letter, I am looking for the right kind of background music for the task at hand.
What kind of music goes best with writing? Rock? Jazz? Hip-hop? Country?

I am not sure at the moment, so I will have to work this out.

I could find something already downloaded on my iTunes or search Internet radio for the right song. But no matter the source, there isn’t a genre I don’t like (except maybe on the elevator), so this could take several paragraphs.

To find the right music, I think I need first to look at individual songs. It would be fun if they were wine-related. Let me see what I can find.

Ben Folds Five’s “Sports and Wine” might be a good one. I listened to this alternative rock trio throughout college, and I know every word to this tune.

Oh, that’s the problem. As I listen, it is too catchy—I want to sing along, not write—and furthermore, it has nothing to do with wine but about life in general. Love the song, but I have to pass.
What about classic rock?

Elton John’s “Elderberry Wine” could work. Here I go… downloading… and play.

OK, yeah, this is a great one. It has me thinking about the good old days, listening to my dad’s favorite radio station on the way to school.

No. Not working. This type of song could be good for novelists and memoirists, but for this editor, it is too nostalgic, and I want to get up and move my feet—kind of hard to write when I am bouncing around. Also, the cord has me on a short leash.

Let me try some jazz.

My urge is to put on Nina Simone’s “Lilac Wine,” but I know that she’ll have me crying all over my keyboard, leading me to drop this letter, and instead “journal” my emotions on way-too-serious matters.

I have to be able to concentrate and, definitely, no tears.

Charlie Parker might pair nicely. Let me give him a spin.

This is promising… Upbeat, inspiring and has no lyrics that will lead me to type what I hear, instead of think. It is propelling me forward. Yes. Finally, I am ready to write.

But wait… I always write this letter with a glass of wine. I wonder what variety pairs with the “Bird.”

I will be right back; I have to go grab some bottles from my cellar. Stay tuned…

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