Writing is by nature a solitary and romanticized venture, making it no wonder that writers who fill the void of isolation with excessive alcohol are given a poetic pass by society at large. That is, until their children get old enough to write a tell-all memoir of life with Mommy or Daddy if the gin-soaked parent is sufficiently famous. I don’t drink, but I still need some kind of ersatz companionship while I write, and music doesn’t do it for me. What I like to do is turn on the TV in the corner of my home office, and then mute the sound. The caption option has to be turned off also, so if I happen to glance over there, I won’t get mesmerized by the scrolling sentences like a kitten when it sees something shiny.
The shows that work best are the Law & Order and NCIS-type programs where there’s action independent of dialogue. Vintage grade-B TV is perfect, like reruns of T.J. Hooker with William Shatner, Heather Locklear, and two young dark-haired actors whose names escape me. I could Google them for you, but you have a computer and if I do all the work here this blog loses its interactive quality. The four lead actors have these enormous poufs of hair, either home grown or mass produced. The Hooker show is especially great because the acting is so bad you don’t really need to see more than the cops running down an alley out of the corner of your eye. As for the dialogue, there is no reason on earth to hear the James Darren-type character – that’s who it is! James Darren! – take the drugs away from some informant and say, “You’re going on a diet pal: cold turkey.” I’m pretty sure my writing would suffer if that kind of thing was audible, even in the distance.
After I read that Stephen King always listens to music while he writes, I gave it a try, but music is too engaging for me. If it’s classical, I get all dreamy or sleepy, and if it’s anything with a dance beat it’s too distracting. I came of age with Saturday Night Fever and I still have some disco residue left inside me just waiting to Hustle out. Jazz, with all its peaks and dives, makes me want to yell, “Get to the point already!” And the Blues are, you know, the Blues. When I’m listening to something, I need to give it my full attention and let it all in, which is why I’m not a candidate for audio books while driving. Husband swears by them and has gone through dozens on his commute, but I know it would only take a few chapters of Freakonomics before I’d have my Sentra wrapped around a utility pole.
William Shatner and his toupee du jour, though, will never hurt you. As I write this, off to my left I can just catch the dark-haired actor who isn’t James Darren striding into the station house in his one-size-too-small uniform and dazzling white smile. That streak of blonde behind him must be Heather and her locks to leer at. They are busy fighting all the crime coming at us in the 80’s, that era safely nestled between Son of Sam and al-Qaeda, a decade rendered innocent now by its lucky place in time.
Daughter’s Fotos showcase the Dunny Show at Halcyon