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Okay, following on from the confessions post last Random Friday, I'll admit that I am a total playlist fiend. It's as about obsessive-complusive as I get (barring grammar/spelling issues, but COME ON).


I currently have thirty-one playlists, and two more are under construction (that is the first time I've ever bothered counting them up and I'm a little ! about it, frankly). They follow moods and themes mostly, are very precisely named, and here's the thing: apart from three playlists which are exempt ("high rotation", "moving the muse" and "impala tracks"), I refuse to have any overlap AT ALL. If a song is in one playlist, it ain't turning up in any of the others. Which is an extremely finicky, thorough process that I confess I love to bits. It's therapy. Or possibly indulging in unhealthy obsessions/addictions. Whatever. Details. I even have a list entitled "le sump" wherein dwell all the tracks I just don't know what to do with at the moment. Just waiting for their turn in a real playlist, the poor wittle fings.

(I may have an issue with anthropomorphizing things, too. Only for the humour, though. I SWEAR.)

(Also, the only reason "impala tracks" gets a pass is because it's my SPN playlist, and there's one or two on there that HAVE to be on there and that I absolutely NEED in others. That's it, though. And "high rotation" gets cycled through whenever I feel like it, and cannot exceed one screen-worth of songs. Ie, no scroll-y bar on the side = 39 songs max. "moving the muse" is stuff that tends to make me want to write, like an intensifier of idea and emotion.)


Which was not the point of this post at all, actually, but it's context. I'm actually thinking more right now of things that make you want to write, and I'm pretty sure a lot of us have soundtracks and playlists for that sort of thing. However, that was not my starting point either. I started with this trailer, which has been floating around for what feels like ages, and I have no idea what happened to the movie or if it's been released or what.



This trailer is all kinds of interesting to me.


One, because it doesn't actually make me that interested in watching the movie. So much is suggested, so artfully and with such deft, broad strokes, that I have serious doubts that the movie itself could possibly ever live up to all the things my imagination does with it. I mean, I know making trailers is an entirely separate skillset and endeavour than making the movies, but damn. This is like it's own little contained universe of infinite possibility (which watching the movie will inevitably limit). The very, very best music videos do this, too, but in their case it's a contained universe of a story, and therefore not so fertile. (The second trailer is at the website, here. More epic, more explained, less suggestive. I still like it, but not as much.)

Two, because it makes me want to write.... I just don't know what. I think I'm stuck, because there is so much suggested and implied that is so interesting, and yet they've already told the story they think that is. At this remove, I can't tell if it's all prettiness with pretensions to profundity, or if it really is that meaty and interesting. I don't really want to risk finding out. But I can't in good conscience pick at the frissons of inspiration and disregard context and canon. I just can't. It's this bone-deep commitment to being faithful to what is that I cannot shake. CONUNDRUM.

Three, because I think it captures something of the zeitgeist of our generation and culture. What I love about this trailer and all it suggests is that it offers ALL THE THINGS. History, future, solitude and connection, grand endeavour and intimate detail, real and imaginary, all wrapped up in this sensuality of experience that I can leave at the door when I walk away. I want meaning hinted but never insisted on, so I may experience and feel my way to my own conclusions on the matter, should I actually feel like it. Above all, I want a plethora of human experience and I want it fleeting so I don't ever actually have to dwell in it and deal with any actual consequences.

Which may sound like a condemnation. It is, partially; it is also not. I love our era where we can explore so much and have access to so much, so quickly. I also think that's enabled us to become the biggest commitment-phobes EVAR. In an effort to never have to actually discern true meaning and value amongst all the competing, absolute, excessive truth-claims and ideologies out there, we have taken the initially attractive option of declaring all truth relative and essentially self-determined (which is an absolute claim in itself, but don't get me started on that little snarl).

The problem on a practical level is that meaning exists only in relation to objective absolutes. If you outlaw those, everything is meaningless. (Which is why the Winchesters matter within the story boundaries of their world, because the story boundaries provide absolutes and thus meaning orientation. But when they fall into "our" world, there is no answer to the question what does it all mean? The more interesting question is why there is no question of the assumption that the former is infintely preferable.) Which relegates us to the level of "experience" as the most valuable thing on offer. Seriously, when was the last time you saw something billed as "Brilliantly meaningful!" rather than "An unforgettable cinematic experience!" Everything seems to be pitched as an "experience" nowadays. We've stripped ourselves of everything else by refusing to acknowledge absolutes.

Okay, well, that's a rant, but the whole point is that I am a product of my era and I am completely attracted to this idea of exploration and interaction with a smorgasboard of experience. I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it's dangerously misleading when it's made the main, and even the only, thing. And I sometimes wonder if I'm attracted to writing that because it doesn't challenge me to deal with meaning ... and why it ultimately only tantalizes me and never demands me to write. PONDER.


I am curious about what props people have for writing, though. Thus, Poll!:

Poll #1722449 My Muse's Paraphernalia

Whenever I write, my typical setup is:

music
4(20.0%)
beverage of some sort
4(20.0%)
snacky food/meal I don't have time for otherwise
0(0.0%)
a semi-annoying pet, or possibly children, underfoot or attempting to sit on my keyboard
1(5.0%)
desk
2(10.0%)
some sort of squishy, comfy chair that's bigger than I am
1(5.0%)
laptop
4(20.0%)
pen & paper
1(5.0%)
about three internet browser tabs going
3(15.0%)
no distractions allowed!
0(0.0%)

When it comes to music when writing, I tend to have:

one or two regular playlists that usually do the trick
3(27.3%)
a playlist specifically taylored to the project
3(27.3%)
pandora
0(0.0%)
no organization at all
2(18.2%)
strong rhythms and intense melodies
2(18.2%)
soothing, background music
1(9.1%)
a sophisticated palate for classical music
0(0.0%)
actually, I prefer to have a show playing or something
0(0.0%)
silence
0(0.0%)

I design playlists around:

moods
4(30.8%)
characters from a fandom
0(0.0%)
relationships from a fandom
1(7.7%)
a fandom
1(7.7%)
genre classification
3(23.1%)
totally random
1(7.7%)
whatever I feel like at the time
1(7.7%)
a totally kickass and creative theme
2(15.4%)
I don't, you obsessive weirdo
0(0.0%)

My drug of choice to lure the muse out of hiding is:

coffee
3(30.0%)
tea
1(10.0%)
soda
0(0.0%)
juice
0(0.0%)
beer or wine
1(10.0%)
hard liquor
0(0.0%)
I'm not discussing this in public
1(10.0%)
I've ruined three keyboards already and I've wised up
0(0.0%)
actually, the food is more important than the drink
1(10.0%)
I can live on liquids alone while I'm on my computer
3(30.0%)

The thing(s) most likely to get me writing is (try to limit it to three or four so the answers are actually meaningful :D):

sizzling ust in an appealing ship
2(12.5%)
a hiatus/finale cliffhanger
1(6.2%)
a fascinating concept or world executed frikkin' poorly and thus wasted by the dumbass creator(s)
3(18.8%)
a fascinating concept or world executed superbly by the genius creator(s)
0(0.0%)
a character I strongly identify with
0(0.0%)
complex and rich relationships, gen or otherwise
2(12.5%)
plot bunnies
4(25.0%)
character studies
3(18.8%)
fixit!fic
0(0.0%)
porn!
1(6.2%)

Comments

( 8 speakses — have a speak )
lmx_v3point3
Mar. 25th, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
Can I add under your first one: "a mode of transport"? I commute long distances for work. Trains and buses have always done it for me. Especially on this one early morning train where I can wedge myself in this seat that isn't really a seat, right in the corner where the... OK, so I'm a big OCD about this.
Also places I've never been before, and sunshine/outdoors/running water. :D I have a retreat I disappear off to periodically in Wales when the weather's good. Set a tent and walk randomly towards water.
You could also add high altitude/oxygen deprivation - but I've only tried that once, so could have been a fluke. Still the best writing I've ever done, but I don't remember writing a word of it.

Music tends to be a source of inspiration (sometimes very strongly), but I can't listen to it while I write. The words get all mashed up in the middle. XD

So... started rambling there. Sorry!
themonkeytwin
Mar. 26th, 2011 01:41 am (UTC)
"a mode of transport"? I commute long distances for work. Trains and buses have always done it for me.

Ooh, interesting. Whenever I had a long commute, it was always reading, for me. I never really thought about attempting to write then. Which also explains your "pen and paper" answer!

Especially on this one early morning train where I can wedge myself in this seat that isn't really a seat, right in the corner where the... OK, so I'm a big OCD about this.

That's kind of adorable. I have an image in my head now. :)

I love the long distance travelling, too, but that's all journalling, no other kind of writing and certainly not ficcing. Then again, I don't know that I'm truly a ficcer at heart, or even a writer. More a story-lover, and writing is the most direct way of interacting with story. Huh. Never really thought about that before now.

Still the best writing I've ever done, but I don't remember writing a word of it.

Heh. I've never had that, exactly, although there are things I will look back over and the distance from them makes me all, did I write that? Huh. And the weird thing is they always seem better than what I can write anymore ... or worth little but throwing away.

And I know what you mean about the words mashing up! Most times I can tune it out, but sometimes I just CANNOT listen to ANYTHING while I try to get the words out of my head.

So... started rambling there. Sorry!

I need to re-label my journal Haven for the People of the Long Wind. Never apologise for rambling here! :)
fannishliss
Mar. 25th, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
I like to put on a song and put it on repeat while I write a section of story. Some of my favorite stories have single songs to them, like Schism, don't fear the reaper, some death cab or metallica. Longer stories have playlists. My first story that broke ten thousand words, I still adore the playlist, it's like sacrosanct. I wish everybody would just take that playlist and write the fic it makes them write! Wouldn't that be a wild project? :D

I definitely have a lot of overlap on my playlists. I also let itunes do the randomizing. For example, I have a playlist called the Stevie Channel with 143 songs that Stevie Ray Vaughan might have liked. :P Just now I let random play a song off the Stevie channel, and it was "Put Your Lights On" by Everlast and Santana -- which is also on my Sacrosanct Playlist as one of the most SPN evocative songs I can possibly imagine.
"La ilaha ilAllah" we all shine like stars then we fade away.
Followed by Bob Dylan's Knockin On Heaven's Door -- which I don't have on any other playlist except spn s5 I think. And now it's Dead and Gone by TI feat JT. I can't resist this song, but it hasn't made a fic for me yet. :P

themonkeytwin
Mar. 26th, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
I like to put on a song and put it on repeat while I write a section of story.

Oh, I can very rarely do this with a single song. It has to be one heck of a song, and relatively new to me, or it'll drive me up the wall. I guess that's why I do playlists so much!

I wish everybody would just take that playlist and write the fic it makes them write!

.... DO EEEEET! That would be awesome! I'd do it! :)

one of the most SPN evocative songs I can possibly imagine.

It's funny, I have my SPN playlist, which is all the rockin' songs of the kind I'd associate with Show, but the playlist that evokes Show's sensibility a little more is a different one. I'd love to see a meme that was list the top [however many] songs you associate with each of your favourite shows. It'd be fascinating to see what people associate with SPN, and why.

Dead and Gone by TI feat JT. I can't resist this song, but it hasn't made a fic for me yet.

Makes me curious. I'll have to look it up! ;)
kenzimone
Mar. 25th, 2011 09:00 pm (UTC)
I make playlists after moods (I've got Happy and Sad and Dark and Epic), and I also have certain songs/albums that I associate with certain fandoms or ships, but mostly I just pick one song out of the appropriate playlist and then turn the volume down and put it on repeat. I usually don't like being able to hear the lyrics too distinctly or have more than one song playing, because the switch between tracks distracts me and snaps me back to RL. I need a droning sound in the background to be able to write (the television works fine as an emergency fix).

The #1 thing that lures my muse out of hiding is showers. Every time I'm in the shower I get hit by one plotbunny or another. Must be the running water - rain works pretty well, too. I don't know if that is weird or not. Any hour past 2 AM is also fair game - I get most of my bunnies while sleep deprived and hungry (which would explain why 90% of my WIPs are scrapped as soon as I go through them again over breakfast the following morning).
themonkeytwin
Mar. 26th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
pick one song out of the appropriate playlist and then turn the volume down and put it on repeat.... the switch between tracks distracts me and snaps me back to RL.

Ah, see, I'm the opposite – if I keep hearing the same stuff over and over, my brain keeps fixating on it and can't let it go and starts not being able to concentrate on anything else. I need things to keep changing, and it's almost worse if it's on low because then it starts straining for it. Funny how people's brains work so differently! Tv is way too distracting to write to. However, when I'm painting or sewing or something, I love having good shows on. Unless I'm watching a show I'm interested in for the first time, and even then often only if I'm watching it with someone else, I almost never sit and watch a show with nothing else to do. Made following Memento a real pain, I can tell you.

rain works pretty well, too. I don't know if that is weird or not.

Me neither, but I find running water calms my brain down. Especially rain.

Any hour past 2 AM is also fair game

TOTALLY. Argh.

(I don't know if I've said it before, but I love that icon of yours. Very cute!)
tahirire
Mar. 25th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
I tend to have a playlist for THAT fic, and then move on to a new playlist when the fic is done. For instance, the NWB soundtrack is my playlist for NWB, but also I am Kloot, Welder, Eskmo, Mumford and Sons, and Adele, and the Tron Soundtrack for that one. (What? It is long!) For shorter fics and one-shots, like Mirror Mask, I tend to cycle the same 2-3 songs over and over in an endless loop so I get trapped into the mood. For Mirror Mask it was The White Queen, by Cruxshadows. :)
themonkeytwin
Mar. 26th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
then move on to a new playlist when the fic is done.

Yeah, I'm pretty ruthless when it comes to scrapping project-related playlists. Sometimes even from one evening to the next.

the NWB soundtrack is my playlist for NWB

... which I keep intending to listen to, but never seem to have time.

For shorter fics and one-shots, like Mirror Mask, I tend to cycle the same 2-3 songs over and over in an endless loop so I get trapped into the mood.

I just can't do that. "Blow" was the first time I did anything of the sort, and that's probably only because it was so damn specifically about that song. Even apart from the two I posted about in the second installment, the playlist ballooned out into seven or eight tracks, and apart from those three central ones, I kept rotating out the tracks I was sick of and finding new ones. You guys are all fascinating to me with your one or two tracks on repeat. !
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