Undercover Soundtrack

Yesterday I took part in Roz Morris’s Undercover Soundtrack, a sort of Writers Desert Island Discs. But I was paying tribute to Steinbeck and I reckoned folks could wait till today to find out about it…

Here’s the link

About the process. The question posed is: What part does music play in your creative process? I discovered this was one of life’s really impenetrable questions. I don’t listen to music when I write. I need complete silence to work creatively because I need to be able to concentrate and I’m afraid any ‘white noise’ or music just breaks the spell. I turn inward to my brain when I work and it doesn’t work best with interruptions. And since for me, music is about the words and songs are like short stories, it would be like reading a book while trying to write one. Not advisable.  So silence it is.

And indeed silence is a far greater part of my life in general these years. I have this theory of life. It’s simple (but weird to most I know!) And it’s my personal journey I’m not advocating it for others. But it works for me. I don’t travel any more because for me travel is what you do when you go ‘looking for something’ . People travel to ‘find themselves’ or to ‘see things.’ Well, I’ve seen most things and found myself so I don’t need to go anywhere else. For me, staying in the same place and looking at it deeper each day, or seeing the small changes that nature and time afford to ‘the same’ is every bit as fulfilling as going to other places.  If you learn how to look deeper you really need to move very little.  That sounds a bit eastern religion maybe, but it works for me.

And it’s the same with music. I realised a couple of years ago that for me music was a way of discovering and then affirming my identity – as a young person.  It was part of my life’s journey towards an identity of self. As a ‘complete’ adult, I no longer have the yearning or nostalgia or need to try and find or define myself in terms of  love or raging against the political system (music was always about love and/or politics) for me.

Add to this the fact that I believe ‘all moments are one moment’ which basically just means that if you engage fully with something at the point of connection you always ‘have’ that connection, there is no need to constantly revisit the past or other states of being, place, feeling.  You’ll either get this or you’ll just think I’m ‘reet strange’ – I can’t help that. This is who I am and what I’ve learned for myself over the process of 50 years. It’s my personal experience.

So the problem of looking at what influence music has on my creative process was initially a thorny one for me.  I used to use certain ‘types’ of music as the kind of ‘theme’ to work I was writing. I don’t now.  Now if I listen to music it tends to be on the ‘nostalgia’ trip and I don’t take that very often. I don’t need to. I’m fully engaged with ‘the moment’ and quite happy with my life so I don’t need to remind myself of who I was before I reached my state of personal spiritual enlightenment (ha ha!) Of course I could use music to get a ‘handle’ on a character – what kind of music would they listen to, but it’s just one of many questions one asks about characters in the research stage and doesn’t really take precedence over any of the plethora of other questions.

So I took a different approach to the set question. (I looked at the same thing from a different, perhaps deeper perspective)  And for that – you’ll need to look at the Undercover Soundtrack.  By looking deeper at the question I was able to see a whole other way in which music has been absolutely central not just to my whole life, but to my creative process over the years – and of the work I’m most proud – that which involved building creative relationships with others and just ‘doing it for ourselves’ in a world which isn’t really interested.


About callyphillips

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