I’m trying something new — music in the background while I write, a soundtrack to inspire. So I pick Simon & Garfunkel.
“They’ve all gone to look for America…”
And I instantly discover the problem with this sytem: I stop and sing.
“I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome I took some comfort there.”
I mean, can you blame me? Here is their genius: they make me feel what they feel, with intensity. I mean, I promise I have never “taken comfort from the whores on 7th avenue” — my comfort vice is ice cream — yet when they do declare, I do declare along with them.
How do they DO that? How do they get me in that moment with them when I have nothing in common with that experience?
It’s not that the details don’t matter. They matter a lot. They paint the picture. What doesn’t matter is if I have or haven’t experienced those details myself. What I’m sharing with them is not the experience of say, taking a bus across America, but the universal feeling of wishing and yearning. That’s what I sing along with. That’s what I need to write like.
I hum their tune and some Boxer part of me wants to break out of my mold, wants to write and punch my way to glory. Another line plays and I think, aha, I can relate to that one. “All my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity…like emptiness in harmony…” Those clever devils even got a good line out of writer’s block.
I wonder who inspired their artistry? Maybe the sound of silence? (Groan. Sorry.)
Next to me is today’s newspaper, with stories that crush the heart. Earthquake in Taiwan. Libya is the new Syria. Syria is still Syria. It’s easy to ask, what kind of a world do we live in? And this morning I’m happy to be reminded that we live in a world of beauty, too. Enjoy.