An interesting post from Xlibris publishers writer’s workshop is quoted below. This really resonated with me as I use references to music, especially the Scottish folk music I’ve been singing for years, in my autobiography “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.” I’ve also liked to whistle my favourite tunes while writing, or doing any other kind of work for that matter.

In the recent interview Gayle and I prepared for The Authors Show, the following question and answer were included:
” Q. You claim that musicianship is integral to your life. How is that reflected in your book?
A. When my wife/editor first read my story, she was struck by how much music was woven into the narrative. She encouraged me to expand on those instances, leading me to quote from songs or to fill out descriptions of the song connections with my own story. For instance, when I am describing my hometown Campbeltown, I mentioned the folk-song made most popular in the ‘60s by Scottish folk-singer Andy Stewart: ‘Campbeltown Loch, I Wish Ye Were Whisky.’ We were unsuccessful in getting permission to quote the whole song in my narrative. So the next best thing was to show how it impacted my life and then paraphrase the verses.
I eventually wrote the following: ‘As we were growing up, three or four of us boys would go arm in arm down the street singing the first few words—‘Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky’—that’s all we knew at the time. I like to think that Andy (Stewart) heard those few words sometime in Campbeltown and created a song around them. ‘Oh, Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky, Campbeltown Loch, och aye! Campbeltown Loch I wish ye were whisky, I would drink ye dry!’
‘The verses cleverly have the singer imagining how nice it would be if the loch were full up to the brim with whisky and he could anchor a yacht in the whisky-filled bay to go in for a nip and a dip ‘by night and by day.’ Clan gatherings would feature wading into the loch with toasts of ‘slainte bva’ (meaning ‘good health’). The only problem would be the police showing up in a boat and shouting, ‘Time, Gentlemen, please!’
‘I find this a fitting tongue-in-cheek ode to a town that once boasted of 30 distilleries and still produces at least two very fine brands of single malt whisky – Springbank and Glen Scotia.’”

Xlibris Presents How to Lure Your Muse with Music and Other Quirks

We’d be interested in hearing what other writers use to stimulate their creativity and to set an appropriate mood for writing. Why or how does music, the position you assume to write (standing/lying/sitting/reclining), your manner of clothing, the time of day, alcohol use, or other quirk or muse impact your writing? We’d love to hear from you.

Gayle mentions that in her magazine and program editing days, she always used a background of classical music to set an atmosphere appropriate to what she was editing. She recalls specifically editing a four-session Bible study on the Book of Revelation. Her background music? Wagner’s Ring Cycle.


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