Even though my commute is now a fraction of what it once was — yes, it’s wonderful not to spend so much time (and money) on commuting, especially since I live in the area of the country with the worst gas prices, and I was upending a C-note every two weeks into my gas tank as a result. And yes, I hated the commute — sitting on some of the worst freeways in the country for traffic for over an hour each way. It was demoralizing in a lot of ways.
But it gave me an opportunity to sit still, remain by necessity in a state of focused though inert awareness, and listen to music. My ipod saved my sanity during those grueling commutes, but it also pumped a whole lot of music into my ears and stirred up a lot of internal musical babble as a result that would last the rest of the day. Now, with a seven-mile, seven-minute zip to work that won’t even let me get one movement of a symphony into my ears much less the whole damn thing, I’m lacking that. And I don’t get that stirring up of babble. And I get home, after a very unmusical day or typing and clicking under my belt, sit at the piano, and wonder why the fuck nothing’s coming out. Nothing’s coming out because I haven’t stored up anything to come out, because I’m not even listening to music during the day anymore. I sit home after a day of nothing welling up in my mental tank, and then wonder why the tank’s empty when I get home.
I need to bring the stupid ipod with me, and if that means that all I can listen to is pop or rock, the that’s what I’ll listen to. Some of my best and most complex pieces were cranked out after a day of Journey and ELO poured into my ears, punctuated by the occasional spate of 3-minute pop songs of centuries past, a.k.a. Baroque arias.
To write music, listen to it.