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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Music of Reading

I woke up to a typical writer Wednesday morning with tons of blogs written by various writers about characterization technique, settings—you know, all the typical writerly things (oh my, I used a word that isn’t the dictionary). I yawned. I don’t know. I should be interested in those things—in honing my craft—but I’m just not, at least this morning (my editor tells me that dashes slow down readers, perhaps annoys some). I use them quite frequently, possibly because I like being annoying, but more likely because I like putting speed bumps in so people will drive through my book more slowly and enjoy the scenery. I especially relish in annoying “data readers”, who quickly want to skim the surface—you know, get the gist of the plot or grab this book’s scifi trick—and then move on to the next cheap read. 

You can just hear their mind work as they read, "Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, huh! There’s nothing there.” The fact that they have rocketed through ten minutes of reading and come up empty handed, well, it just makes me shake with ecstasy. For ten minutes, I mesmerized their mind convincing it to read and read without offering one iota of data. It’s like listening to some old song that has that unusual rhythm that catches your mind, putting everything else to sleep, and then after you are done, have that rhythm hang there all day long, annoying you. People’s minds are very vulnerable to music. There is a secret they don’t know.

Every person’s mind is filled with music. Think about it. Think about all those nerve impulses of various frequencies surging through your brain—each one a note in a veritable symphony in your head. Just think if you had a little box that had a sensitive receiver with the appropriate filters you could tune to tune out the cacophony of notes and just focus on the major themes. You would be able to detect the theme songs of each person and know what music guides their lives. You would also understand why certain songs are catchy to each person—each song harmonizes with the music within their minds, highlighting for a brief moment a pattern driving their lives. For a brief moment their mind sings with the happiness of its form and existence, desiring to relish only in its ordered structure among a chaotic universe. 

Every person has a group of songs in their minds. Some are discordant, some harmonious, some carved into their synapses by their environment, most carved by genetics. By listening to music, sometimes I think we try to alter the course of our lives—harmonize certain desirable melodies. Music can be created with a voice as well as instruments. This voice can be the vibration of vocal chords or (you knew I had to get back to it sometime), it can be the music created when something is read. Reading creates those impulses—those waves of sound in the neural net of your mind. When I write, I seek to create my own song in a person’s mind for a short time, something which I hope harmonizes with one of their melodiesa part of them they wish to grow.  
 Certain musical themes run throughout the population, but some are not heard so frequently. I try to write one of those themes that are rare, minting it with the name, Gifted Fiction. It represents a particular kind of structure, a different wiring, which sometimes err uh, tries to read data. There are some with this wiring that hear the music. And our goal, is to spread the music—that harmonious song that can bring happiness and clarity to life—to the others. 

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