Friday, August 29, 2014

In the Mood

Do you do anything to get in the mood to write? Do you need anything special beside you?

by Paul D. Marks

Well, if I was Hemingway, I’d drink heavily.

If I was William S. Burroughs, I’d shoot up.

If I was J.K. Rowling, I’d run to the nearest cafĂ© for a caffeine fix and a dose of writing.

But since I’m me, I don’t do any of those things.

I don’t have any set routines that I go through before writing each day, but I do tend to goof off, uh, procrastinate, on the internet or Facebook. No, make that I do research on the internet.

And research is always fun.  It helps get me in the mood and I can pretend I’m working.

 Sometimes I’ll walk the dog. Or weed, not do weed, but weed the yard. Don’t ask me how that helps get me in the mood.  But it has to be done. Besides, killing weeds gets me in the mood to kill the badguys in my stories.

In the good old days, I might skydive or SCUBA dive.  Anything with ‘dive’ in its name including the Maldives – though I know it’s pronounced Maldeevz. Or take a trip to Paris, Perris, California, or Parris Island, but not that one with the Eiffel Tower. I just can’t swim that far. (Insert SCUBA photo here. Amy wanted me to put a diving pic here.  Unfortunately, those are buried away in one of many boxes somewhere – unlabeled, of course.  And shoved in corners everywhere.  But someday they’ll be gotten out and scanned.  Unless Amy wants to spend four months going through them right now J.  And if you saw our garage and closets you’d know that four months is underestimating.)  So, this is as close as I could come for now:

And depending on what I’m working on, I might listen to music.  That’s probably the most serious answer here and what I really do more than anything. The music often has the same tone and mood as the story. So if I’m working on a dark story I might listen to the Doors or Leonard Cohen. If I’m working on something set around the time of World War II, in the 30s and 40s, I’ll listen to swing music. Sometimes I just listen to baroque, my sort of all-purpose go-to music—which seems to fit any mood, at least for me.  So here’s something to get you in the mood.  I could have gone with the Andrews Sisters, but couldn’t find a live version:

And do I need anything else beside me, besides of course computer, phones, pictures of wife, pictures of Beatles, pictures of Dylan, Stones, Doors and Siouxsie Sioux and lobby cards from various movies? A can of cherry Pepsi. Gat. Cat. Dog. And pic of Dennis Hopper flipping the bird from Easy Rider. No, that about covers it.

Now that I think about it though, who is Hopper flipping the bird to?—I’m the only one here.
*          *          *
And now for a little BSP: My contributor’s copies of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine’s November issue just arrived. My story “Howling at the Moon” appears in the Black Mask section. This is my first story in Ellery Queen, so I’m pretty amped about it.  Also happy to be in the Black Mask section, carrying on the tradition of other Black Mask writers such Chandler and Hammett, though I am no way putting myself in the same category as them.  Also glad to be in the same issue as fellow 7 Criminal Minds blogger Art Taylor, and Facebook friend Bill Crider’s column.  Will post again when the issue actually hits newsstands.


Meredith Cole said...

So great to see two Criminal Minds in one Ellery Queen! Congrats, Paul.

GBPool said...

Pulling weeds is the price we pay for the writing life. Right now my house is a mess so I must be doing a lot of writing. And I have pictures of all the dogs and cats and Richard. Ah, a writer's life. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

RJ Harlick said...

My congratulations too, Paul. I was wondering though when you managed to fit in writing into your, but since you have this upcoming story, clearly you do. Mind you I am no different with my many

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Meredith. It is good to be in there with Art.

I wouldn't trade the writer's life either, Gayle, but sometimes I wish there were less weeds...

Thanks, RJ. It is hard to fit writing into all the procrastination, uh, routines,
isn't it?

Robin Spano said...

You are so right re: weeding! Great post.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Robin. Sometimes it seems that weeding is my life. Actually I like it 'cause it gets me outdoors.

Art Taylor said...

Hey, Paul --
Great post! And our own yard needs some weeding if you run out of inspiration out there. :-)

So glad to be in the upcoming issue of EQMM with you. Haven't read the story yet (first week of classes) but looking forward to it!

Robin Spano said...

Exactly right. Getting outside is the perfect balance to a life of internal contemplation. Somehow sane-keeping.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Art. And if you put me and my wife up for say, oh, six months while the leaves are changing color, I'll weed your garden. :)

Also glad to be in EQ with you and looking forward to your story. I haven't read any of them yet either. I think I'm just waiting to savor. Don't want the experience to be over, if you know what I mean.

And Robin, it really does help to get outside, doesn't it. Amazing.

Unknown said...

Congratulations Paul! I look forward to reading this new one!