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Inky's Choice: Writers on Music

Jan 21,2013
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Ready for another Best of from 2012?

Today's retrospective looks back at Writers-in-Residence Kirsty Eagar and Gabrielle Wang, and how they use music to fuel their writing.

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Gabrielle Wang asks us: Can you imagine life without music? 

If there was no music there wouldn't be dancing. Imagine going to a movie that didn't have a musical soundtrack. How much does this add to atmosphere and eliciting of emotion? In the City of Soulless not only is music outlawed but so are birds. Imagine a world without them and their beautiful song.

Imagine if singing or playing a musical instrument was outlawed. And all the singers and musicians were taken away.

What kind of world would that be do you think? Her novel The Wish Bird explores what would happen if music was taken from the world.  

While Gabrielle uses music and it's power as the basis of her novel, Kirsty Eagar uses music to help her feel the emotion of the piece she is writing. In short, she uses 'music as a shortcut.'

'Whenever I sat down to work on Molasses, the first thing I'd do was play 'Stuck in my Id' four or five times, and then maybe I'd move on to something else. For whatever reason, doing this helps me get my head in the story quicker. Most of the time, I'm not even aware of the song. Which is good, because as you can imagine that song got a real thrashing.'


How about you as a reader? Do you need quiet? Or can you read anywhere with any kind of noise in the background?

Personally, this dog can read anywhere, anytime, any human's lap. 

Jan 28,2013
Jan 24,2013

" I feel it's impossible to remove music from the world, because it's ingrained so deeply in nature itself." <<< Like!

Sometimes I find myself making music even when I don't mean to. Just humming and stuff. Although the humans generally don't seem to like my form of singing. :(

@Daydreamer - I've noticed that - sorry! Not yet sure why. (Hoping it's not that the cord I've been chewing on is an important one.)

Jan 22,2013

Unless I'm reading a totally terrific book I can't even concentrate when there's loud background noise. I can still read, but it's not quite the same. If I'm listening to music and reading at the same time, I tend to lose focus and start listening to the music.

On the topic of a world without music, its almost unimaginable. Music is one of the few things that transcends cultures, and a world without music would be much poorer. Music can be very powerful, and life would be very different without it.

Jan 21,2013

For some reason, my comments are getting deleted when I post them. o.O

What I had written initially was that I can't imagine a world without music. Where do you draw the line? Beyond singing, dancing and playing an instrument (which already sounds like a depressing place). Does the sound of birds chirping qualify as music? What about the gentle lullaby of the rain? Doesn't even speech have it's own rhythm and tempo? I feel it's impossible to remove music from the world, because it's ingrained so deeply in nature itself. If someone told me they came from a place with no music, I'd stare at them as if they'd just told me they had no head. As for reading preferences, I can do both- sometimes I prefer quiet, other times I turn on the tv, ignore it, and read a book instead. xD

Jan 21,2013

Quiet. Definitely. I think I've said it before, but I can't fathom trying to read and listen to music at the same time... that is, if you're trying to get the best of both. If it's just about reading in a generally noisy place, I'm okay (:

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