I write better while listening to music. As I write this, I'm sipping tea at Sugarpearl Espresso Bar and Lounge, located at the corner of Burnet and Crouse in Syracuse, NY. It's been a lovely addition to my neighborhood.
While sipping my tea I am absolutely enjoying listening to my friend Melissa Clarke's cover of James Taylor's "Steamroller Blues. It's making my toes tap. She knows how to work the guitar, that's for sure! It's one of my favorite blues tunes, when done right, and she's doing it right.
So -- you might ask -- isn't this a distraction, to be listening to live music and writing at the same time? Oh, yeah, definitely sometimes. But in a good way. Usually I can still find my words and scribble away. I've written the first two stanzas of a new poem before turning to this blog post while listening to Melissa. I listen to CDs at home while writing, why not live music? It inspires me in an entirely different way.
I once wrote an entire poem beginning to end while listening to the Barrigar Brothers play at the Red and White Cafe in DeRuyter last summer. I enjoyed them tremendously, although they cast me curious glances throughout the evening. I like the poem I wrote, hardly edited it at all.
Mark Zane has often found me scribbling in my notebook while watching him perform. I think singer-songwriters in particular understand: when the muse arrives, we open our arms to her, wherever we might be. Mark has even written a song about this called "Is There a Banjo in Your House?" Hopefully it will appear on his next CD. It is about the odd times that inspiration strikes us.
I find inspiration in the rhyme schemes of others, in subjects they've been drawn to write about, in the magic woven between their lines.
And so I'm loving this Tuesday lunch hour at Sugarpearl. Melissa has been singing some Beatle songs, a lovely, haunting version of Mary Chapin Carpenter's 9/11 song "Grand Central Station, some Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams and John Prine covers as well as her outstanding originals: "Spirit of America", "What's In Me" and "Women at Work" (and I apologize for probably getting the titles wrong.) I loved one she wrote about her mother-in-law who is suffering from dementia, which takes on the tone of a modern day love song; its lyrics pull you in, take you into the pain of such a relationship, and the joy.
What a delightful treat this was for me today, in addition to the sun shining for the second day in a row. I could nod my head and believe it when Melissa sang, "Here comes the sun...do, do, do, do."
I'll be back another Tuesday...even if it may mean skipping my writing group. Thanks, Melissa!
And thanks Phyllis and Deb for providing lunch time music for the neighborhood.