November 2, 2017 in Dag

Saying hello to good friends

I just treated myself to some new music.

I’m old-fashioned like that. I’m not into all these new-fangled Spotifys and Pandoras and streaming playlists and all that other modern stuff. If there’s music I want, I’ll buy it. So I may have moved beyond CDs (perhaps a little reluctantly) but I still choose to purchase my digital music. And I still refer to long-players as “records” so that should give you some idea of how behind the times I really am.

I won’t say exactly what music I purchased and who the artists were (I’d like to retain a bit of an air of mystery). Needless to say, it was nothing recorded in the last ten years. I think I did manage to break the 21st century with one of the selections, but there’s definitely nothing that would be sitting on any current radio playlists.

I love listening to new (or at least new to me) music. The first time I listen, it’s all a bit of a mystery. I might know a few songs, or a few song snippets, but it’s largely all new. The album slowly unfurls itself to my ears. There may be a few surprises – a chord change or a melodic twist I didn’t expect. Some songs grab my attention straight away while others don’t make a big initial impact. In some ways, the first listen is a bit like the first draft of a piece of writing. It serves mainly to give a general sense of what the work is all about.

It’s the process of returning to the album that I find most pleasurable. Maybe I’ll come back to it the next day, or maybe it will be a week or two before it gets any further play, but each time I listen, I feel like I’m engaging with it much more strongly. I’m starting to get familiar with the music. As each song comes up again in turn, it’s like a new friend popping in to say hello. And with each subsequent listen, those friendships become stronger. I find myself knowing which song to expect next and looking forward to its arrival. Hopefully, we’ll remain friends, and in years to come I’ll be able to play that music again and get the same feeling of enjoyment as when I was first getting to know it.

I’m not sure that reading a book is quite the same experience as listening to music. While, at least to me, music always rewards repeated listening, there are only a few books I feel the need to return to again and again. But still, when I create my stories, I try to recreate that experience. I hope that my readers will be making friends every time they pick up one of my stories. Friends they’d be happy to say hello to again and again.

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