My writing mix tape is blank — nothing but the sound of early morning darkness. Maybe the sound of the air conditioner or the heater, depending on the season.
Sometimes it’s whatever creaking the apartment makes after settling and realizing one of its inhabitants is awake and stirring. It creaks and pops like a tired spine or hip as I cross the dark living room to get the glass of water I drink every morning to start my day. No coffee — just the excitement that comes with writing what I love.
If the silence is too much during times the air conditioner or heater are not running, it’s in my best interest to type. The clacking of keys is better than any song meant to put me in the mood to write.
Later in the day, when the world is up-and-at-’em, music comes in to cover the background noise of it all. Haydn and Schubert quartets. I like the crackle and hiss of the recordings of Pablo Casals playing Bach’s cello suites. The soundtrack to Moon and Solaris get their fair share of time. Tycho, too. Ambient techno — not too thuddy; more mellow, please. Just enough sound to take the edge off of any distractions.
There has never been the urge to create a mix that complements what I’m writing. I love Jelly Roll Morton, Cab Calloway, and plenty of other music from that time, but even when I write stories set in the 20s and 30s, that’s the last music I want to hear when I’m trying to focus. I would be lying to pretend it inspires my writing.
My inspiration is silence and knowing that while I write, most people are still asleep. My inspiration is knowing no matter what the day throws my way — no matter how hectic a day may become — in the dark of morning, the world is mine.