Music Makes Me Feel Things

Music makes you feel things, you know?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s just my exhaustion. Or some impossible-to-detect brain abnormality that’ll cause my sudden death next week.

But I think it’s just music. I can be sitting at my desk, working on this week’s graduate assignment, perfectly content. The feeling of satisfaction in knowing I’m working towards my life goals sits warm in my stomach, a comfortable reassurance that it’ll all be okay.

I turn on some instrumental music to help myself concentrate. I think I have a touch of ADHD and find it increasingly difficult to concentrate on one specific thing, no matter how much I want to do it. I’ve had some success concentrating on my homework/writing if I listen to instrumental music. So I turn on my trusty Calming Instrumental Music playlist on Spotify.

And suddenly I’m transported to a rainy day in mid-October. The breeze blows outside the window, leaves twirling in the air as if they existed carefree, unburdened by the ground falling away beneath them and unconscious of the dangers presented by the breeze, enjoying only the feeling of weightlessness and the anticipation of what comes next. I smell cinnamon-infused coffee and feel the rough softness of the wool blanket wrapped around me, the firm arms of my love holding me close. I’m drowning in the nostalgia of a moment that has yet to happen, drunk on the love and warmth I feel but aching for it to stay, rather than fulfill its fleeting nature.

Maybe I am crazy. Maybe I am exhausted. Or maybe music truly is magic, and our hearts and our minds yearn for the escape it can provide, if only we would allow it.

My Motivations – Thanks to Nina George

One thing I’ve always struggled with as a writer was the motivations that I have for writing. Coming from a background in Christian ministry, I felt that it was always my responsibility to have some large world-changing reason behind absolutely everything of value I did in life. At the beginning of my deconstruction, I began to flounder without this larger purpose and it led to a very dark time in my life. The church has a way of making you feel like you’re nothing without God and his call on your life, so once I walked away from all of that, I struggled to find anything left to rely on. I felt empty and aimless.

It had been a long time since I’d really lost myself in a novel. I spent so much time reading theology books and studying scriptures that I’d forgotten how much I love getting lost in fictional worlds and being charmed by fictional characters. What was the point in reading for pleasure if I was supposed to be serving God every minute of every day? It was exhausting.

Maybe someday I’ll write a blog post about the severe levels of psychological and emotional damage that occurred as a result of my faith, but that’s not what this is about. After deconstructing, I still had the notion that all of my work had to have a large cosmological meaning that would change the world for the better. I couldn’t just write a story; it had to inspire global change. Needless to say, this motivation was very overwhelming and led to burnout even before I was able to begin.

It wasn’t until I read The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George that I really began to understand the beauty of novels. I wasn’t in the best part of my life. I was overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, and coming out of one of the most challenging places I’ve been personally. I found a home in the romantic streets of Paris and was charmed by the bookseller protagonist on his book barge. I didn’t figure out how to change the world. Nations aren’t being brought to their knees over the words on the pages. But I found myself lost in a beautiful world, cognizant for the first time in years of the power of novels to remind us of the beauty of life and the presence of love. So instead of seeking to change the world, instead I am seeking to bring a little bit of a reprieve to my reader’s lives. Provide an escape from their stressful lives that reminds them of the beauty of life and the prevalence of love. Charm them with words of passion and romance.

I think that’s a noble enough motivation.