I have used this space before to reflect upon one of my favorite habits: soundtracking a work in progress.
That practice was much in evidence during the writing of The Spiritkeeper. The music informed the work, surrounded it, colored it. Even now, the first movement of John Adams’ “Century Rolls” recites one special chapter cut-for-cut, like a movie. Soft wonder. Light through tall windows. The tentative joy of a physical love unsure of its place.The second movement of that piece, in its stone-still evocation of memory and loss, still has the power to draw tears.
The music-gathering process was not in evidence during the creating of Everything. I don’t know why. Perhaps because the not-ness of the main character didn’t have room for it. Perhaps because the network news business-backdrop didn’t want it there. Dunno.
This work…a whole different thing.
The gathering of music has begun. Whether bowing to my will or to the will of the emerging story, the new work’s soundtrack has begun to speak to me. This is not something I choose to do. It is something that the work asks of me. A very hopeful sign.
I have been told that my writing is very visual, very cinematic. I am flattered beyond measure to think that such a thing is true. I write visually; viscerally. And I don’t necessarily choose to find the music that suits the scenes. It finds me.
The turns of plot, the personalities, the emotions…they call music to themselves. Not in grand movie-music gestures, necessarily, but in smaller underlinings. The music evokes the scene in its essence, an emotion made for the ears not the eyes.
I am looking for music that the city owns. I am looking for the romance in darkness. I am looking for the colors that only an urban setting at night can know. I am looking to transform the ideas of surfaces and light into passages that are as gut-level-magical as music is for me.
Philip Glass. Steve Reich. John Adams (always John Adams.) Michael Mizrahi. In these choices, I am not surprised that these modern-day composers have spoken to the tale. That the passage that’s on in the background has already brought tears…
As I said, a very hopeful sign.