Marginalia, Graduate Blog

My Writing Music

Parker Stockman

There’s a feeling of euphoria you get when you perform in front of others. It’s intensified when the performance is a piece that you wrote yourself, that you worked hard on perfecting. And, when you finish, when you get off the chair and walk through the audience to the back of the room in which you just performed… you feel like a rock star.

I’m talking about my recent experience with 2nd Story, where I worked hard with two curators, a director, a sound designer, and many other people to tell one of four stories on four different occasions. I felt like a bad ass.

It got me thinking about bad asses and rock stars, and then I couldn’t help but hum some of my favorite songs. When I was writing one night after a show, I was listening to some music. I realized that I normally write with music. I have some artists and bands that are perennial writing favorites. Here’s a list of songs and artists I often listen to when I’m writing.

1) Meat Loaf, “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad”

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The Man. The Meat. The Loaf. He’s my favorite artist. Ever. Make fun of me. I don’t care. I wasn’t even born when this song came out. But, it’s epic in that Meat Loaf way, where the lyrics are sometimes laughable but everything is sung with such intensity that you just have to believe the emotions that he evokes as he croons, belts, and shouts. I had a life-long dream to see him in concert, and I fulfilled this in August when I saw him.

2) Sufjan Stevens, “Impossible Soul”

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Scroll to 13:48. Listen to the whole song, but listen to it from this point, specifically. This song is long. It has five movements. Stevens is not afraid to change up styles, influences, his sound… He’s innovative. I have to admit, I have a huge man-crush on Stevens, and every time I listen to him, I want to do to my stories what he does to music for me. Plus, he has a degree in Creative Writing, so who wouldn’t love him?

3) Sigur Ros, “Untitled 2″

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This is an Icelandic band. This song comes from an album titled “()” and all the tracks are untitled. Sigur Ros were creating some amazing instrumentals and just started making up words and sounds and combinations of syllables. They recorded the songs this way so that they could add lyrics in later. They thought the songs were so beautiful this way, they kept the nonsense lyrics and called the “language” they created “Hopelandic.” This song just does something for me. It inspires me like no other.

4) Arcade Fire, “Wake Up”

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When I first started writing fiction during my undergrad, the first scene to this super ambitious novel that will never be finished was scored to this song. No, I’m serious—I was that pretentious that each of my scenes had a song that corresponded to them. I mean, I still kind of do this… but I don’t try to make it part of the story. I figured if that novel ever was completed and then made into a film… bam, this would be the song that opened the film. Too bad Where The Wild Things Are beat me to this.

5) Third Eye Blind, “Blinded”

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Third Eye Blind was THE band of my teen years. I wore out their self-titled debut album so much that, in 2004, when I transferred it to iTunes, the last song did not transfer. This isn’t their best song, and it’s from a much later CD, but I like the lyrics. They can weave tales and pop-poetry really well, in my opinion, and I think that this is a vastly under-appreciated song that gets my creative writing juices flowing.

What about you, readers? Add your lists or comments on mine to my margins!

My Writing Music

There’s a feeling of euphoria you get when you perform in front of others. It’s intensified when the performance is a piece that you wrote yourself, that you worked hard …

Creative Writing - Fiction MFA Parker Stockman,
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Graduate Experience