I wouldn't call myself a music snob. Sure there were years in high school where I bought tapes and Cd's. I pictured myself a suburban outcast. The titles lining my bookshelf represented a smattering of rap, R + B, and soul. I can still hear the haunting rhymes of Chuck D and KRS-1 run through my mind at random times.
As the years passed, I listened to music regularly although I was no longer a consumer. I spun the dial on the car radio and settled on syrupy, upbeat top 40. And that's where I stayed. To this day, the younger members of my office staff are surprised when I recognize the stylings of the newest radio stars. I catch their pop culture references and shoot a few back at them. What else is a guy going to do while driving a few hours a day?
A few months ago, I felt my self inundated with noxious stimuli and searched for something a little more calming on my daily commute. Like an answer to my prayers, I happened upon National Public Radio. Each morning, I listened to the smooth calming diction of NPR's announcers. The programming was informative and stimulating. The afternoon doldrums were interrupted by the latest news and interviews. For the first time in my life, I felt well informed.
But something else subtle was beginning to happen after this seismic shift. I began to struggle with my writing. The blog posts became slower and more labored. The depth and breath of my emotion began to fade. I sat down many mornings and started to write, but ended up staring at a blank screen. My mood began to sour and my enjoyment in work was fading. It was like I had lost my internal rhythm.
This morning while running errands, my kids convinced me to turn off the "boring" talk radio and play some music. As I cruised down the highway, I started to feel myself shift. My body unconsciously bounced to the melodic drumbeats coming from the speakers.
A flood of memories returned to me. Memories of driving quiet mornings before the sun came up. It was during these lonely moments where the impetus to write welled up in my chest. Inspiration was not the monotonous chatter nor the informative stories of talk radio, but rather the booming of base, the riff of the guitar, and the soul of lyrics.
Without music, I was lost. I had become a movie without a soundtrack.