By Stephanie Valente
Real talk: I listen to music for a good 75% of the day. And if I could listen to it the other 25%, I would. For me, listening to music and opening myself up to an emotionally and sensory experience is no doubt powerful but also a touching every day ritual.
I even ritualized listening to music in my weekend routines and especially my writing routines. Listening to records and weaving them into my creative routines and processes is a way to calm myself and also explore my inner self. Plus, it just feels good listening to tunes and exploring new jams. I tend to write best in the morning, with fresh coffee. So adding in some deeply sensory songs with my laptop and notebook in tow, it's an amazing, and frankly, lovely experience.
If you haven't mixed in some new records, or even write with music at all, why not give it a spin? Check out ten of my favorite records to write to below.
1. Brian Eno – Thursday Afternoon. This is a deeply personal record for me. The lush, rich, ambient sound gripped immediately gripped me when I first heard it. It's the perfect album for visualizing and grounding myself, and also getting entrenched in some poetry.
2. Solange – When I Get Home. This is a new discovery for me and Solange's spell on me keeps getting strong and stronger. Enchanting.
3. Astrud Gilberto – The Astrud Gilberto Album. Soulful, intimate, private. The perfect companion for writing sessions, small or large. And so good when writing alone.
4. Prince – Purple Rain. You can't write without such a show stopping, heart-pulling, heart-aching, heart-wrenching, heart-moving record like this one.
5. Lana del Rey – Ultraviolence. Moody, perfect, dreamy, and if I squeeze my eyes tight enough, I feel like I'm writing somewhere hidden in Los Angeles.
6. David Bowie – Low. Magnificent. I'm not sure how else to pay it true justice. Perhaps, you should just start typing alongside it.
7. Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch. An enchanting record to get lost in. I discover a new detail with every spin.
8. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood – Nancy & Lee. Spellbinding, this an epic album for kicking off morning pages, writing lines, and dipping into a conversation with a character.
9. Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes. If this isn't pure magic, then I don't know what is. "Silent All These Years" is an incantation of sorts for my short fiction writing.
10. Queens of the Stone Age – ...Like Clockwork. An album that's one of my "lifers" – I carry it with me through so many rituals an activities. It's a dark, rich, and powerful journey full of motorcycles, black cars, and mystery.
Stephanie Valente lives in Brooklyn, NY. She has published Hotel Ghost (Bottlecap Press, 2015) and waiting for the end of the world (Bottlecap Press, 2017) and has work included in Susan, TL;DR, and Cosmonauts Avenue. Sometimes, she feels human. http://stephanievalente.com