Music and Writing: A two-part harmony

By guest blogger Carole Jane Treggett

Recently I wrote a post called A Whole New Meaning to “Finding Your Voice”. So many epiphanies went into the creation of that post, I decided to create a new blog category (named “finding your voice“) and invite our readers to contribute. Here’s our second contributor; please help me welcome Carole.

Β© CJ Treggett

Before I could write, I could talk. Before I could talk, I could sing.

When I was a child and my mother put me down in my crib for an afternoon nap, I apparently didn’t cry when I woke up. After a few hours, she would come into my room to check on me, wondering why I was sleeping so long.

There I’d be, wide awake on my back, singing softly and swaying from side to side. Content in my solitude, in communion with the creative musical voice inside of me.

Years later, I know when I’m immersed in wonderful writing flow when I can really ‘hear’ the words and phrases falling into place, forming into melodic rhythm as I type or put pen to paper. I feel the swell of the same joy as when I listen to music or sing a song that’s especially meaningful. If I’m reading a piece of good fiction, the prose seems to flow through my mind and heart as beautiful music too, and I aspire ardently to write in such an uplifting, lyrical way.

It seems music has always been in me and around me, a constant, powerful force complementing my writing and creative expression like a soulful soundtrack.

Even before I was born, my dad would play all the best jazz records for hours on end, and I swear I ‘remember’ rocking out happily to many a tune in the cozy cocoon of my mother’s womb!

But for the past few years, music has pretty much been absent from my life.

When I was reading Milli’s great first post on ‘Finding Your Voice’, something she shared in particular made my writerly spirit sit up straight and pay close attention:

“I discovered that finding your voice can mean remembering to go back to a form of expression you once loved but that you stopped doing.”

My days working from home as a creative solopreneur are usually spent in my office, at the computer, in diligent silence (even though it can feel ‘noisy’ when I take in too much information for too long online). Most weekday evenings after supper are spent doing household chores, reading (again, usually without other media on) or watching an hour of television before preparing for bed.

How I used to enjoy having music all around me, at various times of the day. Whether it was coming out of the speakers in the livingroom or playing my own peculiar ‘mixed tape’ in my head, music never failed to rejuvenate, stimulate and inspire me creatively, especially with my writing, but with other artistic projects too.

Why the heck I would choose to ‘stay away’ I’m not sure, but as I sat out in my backyard chewing on Milli’s wonderful words, I felt a sort of homesickness stir inside me, and I continued to ponder…

A few minutes later, my acoustic guitar came to mind. Yeah, the very same poor neglected instrument I hadn’t touched in three years, stored in its case in a corner of the basement. I remembered the joy, how much lighter my soul felt, as my fingers plucked away on the strings, singing favourite folk and pop songs as well as a few I had written myself.

I smiled remembering how replenished and inspired I would feel afterwards, so calm after drifting away on River Reverie,imagining all my creative dreams coming true.

Great writing ideas would often float up to the surface like bubbles on water and I’d scurry to jot them down in my notebook before I blinked and they disappeared.

“People ask me how I make music. I tell them I just step into it. It’s like stepping into a river and joining the flow. Every moment in the river has its song.” – Michael Jackson

As I lifted my face up to the warmth of the sun and breathed in the wonderful music of the wind through the trees, a big piece of the puzzle fell into place as to why I might still be struggling with my writing too often and why I still couldn’t successfully break free from the relentless ticker tape of worry, fear and self-doubt.

I realized I needed that intimate relationship with music back in my life in order to blossom and thrive fully in my creative career as a writer. To allow myself to play. The next day I drove to the nearest music store and bought a new set of guitar strings.

How about you? Is there a creative or artistic form of expression you can return to to help you find, enjoy and share your own unique writing voice?

———

Carole Jane Treggett

Carole Jane Treggett is a writer, photographer, and online media producer from Ontario, Canada. She just recently decided to pursue her lifelong dream of being a self-employed creative professional after working over 25 years in social services and education. She blogs about inspiring people to reclaim, rejoin and rejuvenate their artistic birthright and go forward to make their own creative dreams and life ambition come true. You can follow her on Twitter @cjtreggett, on Facebook, or visit her website.

11 Responses to Music and Writing: A two-part harmony
  1. Sue Mitchell
    Twitter: Sue_Mitchell
    September 11, 2012 | 10:50 AM

    Carole, this really touched me. Why, oh why do we sometimes let music slip out of our lives? It is so critical to emotional well-being and creative inspiration. Thank you so much for this reminder–music is exactly what I need right now.

    • Carole Jane Treggett
      Twitter: cjtreggett
      September 11, 2012 | 11:17 AM

      {{{Sue}}}}

      Thanks for this feedback and glad my realization could be helpful to you too.

      Not sure who wrote this quote but I saw it recently and comes to mind now to share:

      “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”

  2. Charlotte Rains Dixon
    Twitter: wordstrumpet
    September 11, 2012 | 10:53 AM

    I love the image of you as a baby, happily singing in your crib! And I love that this blog series (it’s a good one, Milli) inspired you to return to the guitar. The thing I’ve returned to lately is stitching, as in embroidery. I find the rhythmic repetition of it soothing to my creative mind.

    • Carole Jane Treggett
      Twitter: cjtreggett
      September 11, 2012 | 11:23 AM

      Hi Charlotte!
      Now you’ve got me wondering if ‘the most beautiful baby in the world’ does the same thing in his crib? I think all the coolest kids must be doin’ it πŸ™‚

      I’m in full enthusiastic agreement about this wonderful series Milli has come up. It’s such an important subject for us writers.

      I think it’s wonderful that you have returned to embroidery. I used to do a lot of it in my teens, but now I’m more into quilting.

      You’re absolutely right about how grounding it is to engage in that rhythmic activity and let your mind relax and meander down River Reverie (as you can see I’m enamored with that image and phrase these days lol)

  3. Estrella Azul
    September 11, 2012 | 12:17 PM

    Loved reading about the role music had and still has in your life.

    I kept thinking of a creative or artistic form of expression I can return to to help me find, enjoy and share my own unique writing voice and have come up empty for a while now.
    Reading your article though, I realized it’s not as much returning to, as embracing.
    In my writing, I find reading inspiring. Articles, yes of course, but books especially. There never seems enough time to do that anymore.
    Also, crafting can be easily listed here as well. I might be crazy busy with tons of things to do, but when I craft something out of pure pleasure (maybe even for myself only) that’s when I feel most happy and relaxed. It’s also when I get many ideas for blog posts, fiction or poems.
    I like how the two complement each other.

    • Carole Jane Treggett
      Twitter: cjtreggett
      September 11, 2012 | 2:59 PM

      Hi Estrella,
      Thanks for your lovely comment. I heartily agree that crafting IS another artistic endeavour that can help us relax and stoke our writing fires, very much so. I hope you’ll take the time very, very soon to go and spend some time crafting something, especially since it can make you feel oh-so-happy. I don’t know if you’re the same, but too often I put the fun things to do at the very bottom of my to do list and end up seldom getting to them.

  4. Robin
    September 11, 2012 | 12:50 PM

    Hmmm, was this recently? Like right after Friday? With my involvement in an upcoming wedding and seeing Lindsey on Friday, my creative, romantic lover of music is coming back. Like you, I have neglected it too long. Whatever I did last Saturday or Sunday, while home, was spent with music in the background….. πŸ™‚

    • Carole Jane Treggett
      Twitter: cjtreggett
      September 11, 2012 | 3:15 PM

      LOL. Actually, Robin, I came to this revelation long before the concert(for those not in the know, my friend Robin was with my Michael and I last Friday at an outdoor concert where we enjoyed the amazingly talented and still very swoon-worthy Lindsey Buckingham (of Fleetwood Mac fame)from the front row no less! I was greatly inspired too witnessing such a creative tour-de-force up close like that!

      It’s so wonderful to hear you were so inspired and returning to having music as an important part of your life again. I know how much it means to you πŸ™‚

  5. Laurie Buchanan
    Twitter: holessence
    September 11, 2012 | 2:48 PM

    Carole –

    I saved this to read with a cuppa tea on my lunch hour, and I’m oh-so-glad I did. Wonderful!

    – Laurie Buchanan

    • Carole Jane Treggett
      Twitter: cjtreggett
      September 11, 2012 | 3:17 PM

      Ah, Laurie, so happy to know you enjoyed it! It’s neat that I found one of those ‘keys’ to greater creative joy, isn’t it? πŸ˜€

  6. […] “Music and Writing: A Two-Part Harmony,” Carole Jane Treggett, guest post on Fear of Writing: One of my Twitter/blogger friends, @cjtreggett, guesting for another Twitter/blogger friends, Milli Thornton of @fearofwriting. That combo in itself is a nice two-part harmony. Carole Jane explores her creative drift away from and back to music. […]

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