Setting the Scene to Write

I have a DJ in my head. For some reason, that sucker likes to torment me by playing the same melody fragment of the same song over and over and over for days (or weeks) without pause. Right now, for example, it’s playing a very old Bette Midler tune from her burlesque days. (“If you’re cracking up from having lack of shacking up…”) The only thing that breaks it off is to feed the DJ a new song, or to play different music, or to watch television, anything to give it some new musical phrase or line of lyric. Unfortunately, as a partially deaf music-lover, I don’t always know the words to the songs, so I make them up as I go. It doesn’t always appease the DJ to sing along if I’m not a fully informed participant.

So a quiet room is sometimes tantamount to tortuous distraction when I write, for the DJ Never. Shuts. Up. I usually listen to a-lyrical (is that a word?) music—psyambient, or New Age, or classical. Favorites include anything by the Peaking Goddess Collective, Entheogenic, Andreas Vollenweider, Carbon Based Lifeforms, or even mixes by FrancoFunghi and other similar real-life DJs. Sometimes, I listen to pieces from a sound-effect generator (, which as a subscriber, I can mix together to create a unique background.

I usually write in my own space at home, but it’s not unheard of to find me at a busy café, where the background buzz of dozens of simultaneous conversations fill the DJ’s need for sound. Even the main room at a library (which is not as quiet as you might think) can fit this bill. I’ve written at the local botanical gardens, or on the kitchen table at work (after hours, boss! I swear!), or on my balcony at home where the birds and squirrels and neighbors and bugs (get away, spider!) take the DJ’s place.

Other surroundings don’t count so much as sound, for me. As long as I can see what I’m doing, I don’t need much beyond a flat space for my computer and a semi-comfortable seat for my…well, you know. The Smudginator (see “What the Heck is a Smudge?” on the “About Me” page), however, doesn’t like it when I write. The keyboard is in direct competition with him for my attention, so wherever I write at home must be specifically equipped to allow ease of opportunity for close personal contact between his ears and my fingers whenever he so desires. If I ignore him too long, he climbs on my leg and “pats” me with his paw while insistently vocalizing his demands. (This is precisely how I learned that the library or a café or even the gardens are a workable substitute for my own apartment.)

What about you? Tell me about your writing space, or if you aren’t a writer, where do you go to create your songs/music/jewelry/paintings/art/etc.?