Sunday, January 10, 2010


    I write to music. Many of my writing friends do. I'm not sure why it works so well to help concentration. But, for me, it has to be a particular type of music to not be distracting. Never any lyrics. If voices are singing, their words ramble through my head, stealing my attention. I'm then thinking about the story they're telling, rather than the one my characters are building on my computer screen.

    I have favorites, but they're nearly all classical. These seem to me the most conducive to getting words on paper. But I know other writers who enjoy creating to the tune of hard rock, country, jazz, R&B, or Top 40's. The trick is finding the music that best turns off your inner nag. You know, the one that says, "You really should put in a load of wash while you're sitting here staring at this monitor." Or, "The kids will be home in less than an hour; what good is another 45 minutes going to do you?"

    This weekend I had a chance to hear one of my fave performers, live. We drove into D.C. to hear the National Symphony. Nicolaj Znaider was the soloist, playing the Elgar violin concerto…and it was gorgeous. I've heard him before and love his passionate playing. (And it doesn't hurt that he's absolutely adorable in that black Euro-style tux!) Anyway, I already had one of his CD's but they were selling a new one that he'd just recorded…of the same piece he was going to play that night, so I bought it. Now I'll be able to listen to it any time I like.

He was signing the CD's after the concert, so we got a chance to chat with him. I'd intended to tell him that I enjoy playing his recordings while I write. But my husband, bless his heart, used up the brief time we were allowed before the next person in line was called forward. He felt somehow compelled to ask Nicolaj if he sweated a lot while he was playing! I nearly fell through the floor, but Nicolaj didn't so much as blink. He smiled and said, "Yes, in fact I do. My shirt was drenched by the time I finished tonight." I couldn't stop laughing as we walked away. My husband said, "What?" I just shook my head. Guys find different things about the arts interesting, I guess.

    Now I'm not sure I can listen to Nicolaj while I write. I'll forever picture this hunky young guy in a wet shirt, playing a luscious melody…just for me. Sigh. Back to writing now, Kathryn…