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  • Kim

Jazz in the Kitchen

Recently I discovered that I like to listen to jazz while I’m moving around in the kitchen. Doesn’t matter if I’m cooking, washing dishes, or just tidying up. Jazz seems to suit my mood the best when I’m in the kitchen. I like most kinds of jazz, mostly considered traditional, sometimes Dixieland. The modern stuff is okay. A couple of years ago I discovered the music of Thelonius Monk. Awesome stuff, that.

When I write or edit, I like classical music. I subscribe to Focus@Will, a neat little service that provides background sounds to help you focus. There are lots of options besides classical music, but it’s all supposed to be scientifically designed to help people focus. I’ve tried other services, but that one works the best for me. I can’t have any music with lyrics, because that breaks my focus. I want to listen to what the people are saying.

The same is true with movies—I can’t have them on in the background while I’m doing other things. I want to sit down and watch the movie. Can’t do both.

When I’m driving, it depends on my mood. When I’m in heavy thinking mode, it’s back to Focus@Will. If I want to be entertained, rock is best. Classic rock, from the 1960s and 1970s, particularly. I don’t listen to jazz while I drive; makes me nuts. I don't know why.

In her book Writing in Flow, Susan K. Perry delved into the process by which writers (or other creative people) can get into “flow,” that magical state where time seems to fly by, your creative juices are flowing, and your end product is darned near exactly what you want. I’ve experienced it several times. Perry talks a bit about music’s role in that process, but of course it’s different for different people. She also talks about the role that *water* plays in the process, but that's for another blog, another time.

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Unfortunately, I’m pretty much devoid of talent when it comes to making music. Maybe that’s why I enjoy it so. As a writer, I have deep respect for anyone who can weave a story in about three minutes, with passion and emotion, then make it rhyme and set it to a tune. That’s a humbling thought. I don't have to do any of that, and I often struggle to get my point across.

I’d love to hear from other writers/editors/creative people on how they use music at different times for different purposes.

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