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Soundtracks-- nerve-wracking, insanity-inducing, or truly-inspired......

I don't know of anyone who isn't in some way moved by music (and its numerous derivations). It's hypnotic and all-consuming, if we're in the right frame of mind and the right piece is playing.

Even those with less-than-functional hearing can still be moved and soothed by the steady thrum and vibrations that music provides. Place your hand on a throbbing speaker, eyes closed and mind clear, and you'll find your heartbeat slowing--- even if it's a fast-paced, eardrum-piercer pounding through the air.

It's the regularity of rhythm, much like the beating of a parent's heart, the pulse of their breathing, that soothed us during times of stress when we were infants.

Music is a language that needs no translation. It affects/changes our mood, just because it's there...just because it struck something deep inside us. We are at once invigorated, incensed or inspired. We become melancholy or morose. Our sympathies are wrung from inside. Our passions are ignited. Tears fall of their own accord. Laughter chokes its way past the lump in our throat.

Filmmakers know this. Filmmakers take advantage of this at every opportunity. And we love them for it.

How emotionally stilted a movie would be without the soul-charging score running through it...

So, how does this apply to the world of writing?? How can it not!?!

I've heard of several authors using music to their advantage while writing, something their sub-conscious could focus on while they noodled through the work of the day. But, it wasn't until my first attempt at NaNoWriMo that I took to the idea of composing a "soundtrack" for the piece I was working on----

NaNoWriMo 2007 was the first time I had ever dreamed of attempting challenge-writing---- I don't even remember how I stumbled across the challenge and what possessed me to sign up (though, I have yet to regret that decision). Up to this point, most of my writings were stray poems and the random scene that never amounted to much. I had completed a VERY ROUGH draft of a story that skirted the 50K mark, so I knew I could complete the requisite number of words. The terrifying part was it had taken me nearly 2 years to complete that draft---and now, I was expected to do the same in only 30 days????

Sooooo, in preparation for the insanity I was about to embark on, I pored over the NaNo forums, latching on to any "helpful" hint/tip that I stumbled across---hence the naming of my internal critic/editor (Humphrey)...and, the idea of creating a soundtrack for my writing.

My first year, though, I didn't have the opportunity to actually create a soundtrack, so, I listened to a mostly instrumental soundtrack to one of my favorite movies (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)... I know, it's a strange choice, but still. It had the effect I was looking for, though, so I can't complain. As soon as the music started, my fingers itched to be at the keyboard--- I had developed a Pavlovian response to the soundtrack--- it was like priming a well. Before I knew it, the words were veritably flowing from my fingers and a mere 20 days into the challenge, I had completed the 50,000-word monster. It was exhilarating and thoroughly addictive....

Somewhere around my 2nd or 3rd year of NaNoWriMo, I did find time to put together a collection of songs, the story that year was a Civil War-centered supernatural tale, full of curses and dark tormented scenes---  the collection of songs I gathered is rather morbidly-obsessed and somewhat dark, with a definite bluesy-flavor (yeah, yeah, I know that's who I am, even without the Civil War drama to focus on)----

So, here ya go, my 19-song soundtrack for my NaNo novel, "Tangle of Matter and Ghost"...

Anybody else got a soundtrack they want to share??

1. Dave Matthews--- Gravedigger

2.  Blood, Sweat & Tears--- When I Die

3. Ralph Stanley--- Oh, Death

4.  Aerosmith--- Back, Back Train

5. Rufus Wainwright--- Hallelujah

6. The Waterboys--- Stolen Child

7. Emmylou Harris/Alison Krauss/Gillian Welch--- Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby

8. Lindsey Buckingham--- On the Wrong Side

9. Gordon Lightfoot--- The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

10. Alison Krauss--- Down to the River to Pray

11. Natalie Merchant--- Saint Judas

12. Little Axe--- Down to the Valley

13. Eric Clapton/Robert Johnson--- Hellhound on my Trail

14. Moby--- Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?

15. Eric Clapton/ Robert Johnson--- Me and the Devil Blues

16. Moby--- Natural Blues

17. Jefferson Airplane--- White Rabbit

18. Jen Titus--- Oh, Death

19. Dave Matthews--- Gravedigger (Acoustic)


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