Looping Music Takes Me to a “Place” Where I Can Write
Putting songs on repeat helps me get into a writing flow, return to my projects after time away, and access memories and moods more easily.
This song makes me feel as if I am inside a champagne glass, surrounded by wavering curtains of ascending bubbles. I play “Gift” when I am having trouble getting words on the page, and it reminds me that an abundance of tiny, half-formed, or misshapen thoughts is better than nothing at all and, from a distance, can take the form of a bigger idea.
This was actually Portugal’s entry to Eurovision 2022, and I loop this to write about my grandparents. It is a melancholy song, one that floats on its sense of yearning and sadness. And the first line—“I’ve tried to write”—reminds me there will always be a gap between our experiences in the world, but all I can do is try and try to write.
Do you want to write an essay that concludes like Mentos in a Coke, an essay that runs all the way up that hill and succeeds in making a deal with whoever’s up there? Looping this song makes me feel like an Olympian, surging higher up a mountain or into the clouds, and asks me to push as hard as I can into the exhilaration of the text. How much ecstasy can I wring from these words? How can I make sentences that mimic a harp?
“Skin” was the first song I ever seriously looped, and I find myself returning to it whenever I am writing to understand something about myself I have never before articulated. “Skin” feels like sighing over and over and over again, seeing what truths might tumble out.
I listen to “Barké” whenever I am trying to articulate a spicy opinion or rant. It’s a prickly and playful song, good for shedding self-consciousness and leaning into the edges of a thing.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
No matter where I am or what I’m doing, “Limerence” transports me to the calm space behind a waterfall or inside the hollow of a tree. The song includes brief, spoken intimacies between a pair of lovers that feel universal enough to understand as another kind of instrumental accompaniment to the actually instrumental backdrop of the song, which is a rippling loop. I play “Limerence” when I am writing about love—past and present—to help me remember our tenderest moments as if they happened yesterday.
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I have no desire to live forever. But what I would give to return to adolescence and do it over, even once! To kiss who I wanted to kiss, not settling for her brother.