Back in my green salad ranting and raving poetry and short story days I wrote profusely
The Four Tops, James Brown, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Janis Joplin, Phoebe Snow, Phyllis Hyman, Michael White, Pharoah Sanders, Don Ellis, Beethoven, Hetor Villalobo, Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck, The Iron Butterfly and George Gershwin serenaded me.
They didn’t do it all at once, of course. From midnight to four a.m. — after my evening nap and before I went to work at 8 a.m. as a newspaper reporter back in Des Moines, Iowa — their music swayed me and their lyrics stimulated me. While I wrote The Secret of Gumbo Grove in South Carolina, I was aided by The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, Michael jackson, Whitney Houston, Tina Marie, the Righteous Brothers, and especially Christopher Cross (“Sailing, take me away …”). I listened to them either on the radio (before CDs) or on their 33 1/3 vinyl records. I still have most of their albums, too.
When I wrote African American Musicians in North Carolina in the late 1990s I swooned to the music and/or lives of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Ma Rainey, Duke Ellington, Shirley Caesar, Millie-Christine McKoy, Queen Latifah, Tupac Shakur, Eubie Blake, Anita Baker, and other greats. By listening to their music I was able to connect to their personalities, I guess.
And now what do I listen to? Well, I watch television: Dr. Phil, the Braxon Family Values, Survivor, Dancing to the Stars, Golden Girls and Frazier (still!), South Park, the Weather Channel, Animal Planet and the History Channel, Joyce Meyers, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen. As I write this piece I’m watching Entertainment Tonight.
I’ve no excuse for my media proclivities (other than NOT watching Fox News). Everything evolves. Just as long as I can keep writing.
What about you and our favorites? Or is silence your favorite partner?