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Music Is The Drug

The Music Behind the Writing

By Alyssa NicolePublished about a month ago β€’ 3 min read
Top Story - March 2024
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Music Is The Drug
Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

Music has always been one of the greatest influences in my life. Each genre holds a special place, certain artists elicit strong emotions, specific songs conjure nostalgic memories.

For the Melodic Milestone Playlist Challenge last year, I wrote a piece, Bittersweet Symphony, listing ten of the most memorable songs of my life so far. But those songs don't even begin to scratch the surface of the record.

Throughout the years, music has played the role of the motivator, inspirator, consoler, celebrator, and the list goes on. And in many ways, it has also acted as a drug. Music can be a potent stimulant, depressant, anesthetic, analgesic, or even hallucinogen.

Ever since I started writing as a teenager, comfortably cocooned in the solitude of my own bedroom, music has been a constant soundtrack to my stories. I would sit on my bed, knees drawn up as a makeshift desk for my marble composition notebook, and write as I listened to Linkin Park, Coldplay, Avril Lavigne, Muse, Florence and the Machine, The Black Keys, and everything else in between as I moved through adolescence. Lyrics would be laced through the margins, highlighting powerful words that struck me in the moment. I would bounce back and forth between my notebook and my keyboard, trying to play along to the songs on my stereo and keep my creativity flowing.

For me, music resonates at just the right frequency. It's an anesthetic that separates the discomfort from my nerves, the vibrations lifting the heaviness effortlessly. Listening to music is like a dissociation into a trance, a cycle of waves of frisson and rolling tides of numbness. It is just enough to dissipate the ruminating thoughts circling like vultures, enough to make them scatter and fade into the distance, an evanescent stream of consciousness.

It's no surprise that music has influenced my writing so strongly over the years. I've found that the lyrical genius and brilliant storytelling of so many artists spark creativity for writing like nothing else. Because what are songs? Songs are just short, visceral stories told from the depths of the soul.

The Songs Behind the Stories

"In the Woods Somewhere" by Hozier

My recent submission to the Snow Micro Challenge earlier this year was partly inspired by Hozier's song "In the Woods Somewhere." I love the hauntingly beautiful lyrics of this song, making it one of my favorites by Hozier.

"Fields of Gold" by Sting

For the Unspoken Challenge last year, I wrote a piece based on a proposal story I had heard from someone I knew back in high school. But "Fields of Gold" by Sting also had an influence on my writing. Taken together with my own experience of standing on the Cliffs of Moher, it brought back unforgettable memories of adventuring across Ireland almost ten years ago.

"Past Lives" by Martin Arteta

This one is a little different since I had started writing a story for the Under Purple Clouds Challenge before I found "Past Lives" by Martin Arteta. Late one night, as I was writing, I came across this song on Spotify and its theme of dreaming fit nicely into the background.

Novel Inspiration

Besides the spontaneous ideas for challenge submissions, music has also been a great inspiration for my novel. Here are just a few songs that have ignited scenes and added to the aesthetic during the writing process.

P.S. The title of this piece was inspired by "Music Is The Drug" by Bassnectar and LUZCID. And the idea for this piece was inspired by sleepy drafts and the March Music Video Writing Prompts, an unofficial musical mini challenge. Check it out and stay tuned for my submission to the challenge!

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About the Creator

Alyssa Nicole

A toxicologist who secretly hopes to be a full-time author. One novel in progress with too many other ideas taking up space in my head until I get around to writing them. Some of those ideas end up here.

Instagram: @alyssa.n.mussowrites

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Comments (8)

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  • Mike Singleton - Mikeydred16 days ago

    Hi we are featuring your excellent Top Story in our Community Adventure Thread in The Vocal Social Society on Facebook and would love for you to join us there

  • A. J. Schoenfeldabout a month ago

    Nicely written. Music has a way of speaking to the soul.

  • emaabout a month ago

    I understand you perfectly, I would be lost without music, and it also inspires me in my writing. Fields of Gold is a masterpiece 🀩

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Congrats! It is amazing that from music you create stories.

  • Manisha Dhalaniabout a month ago

    Congrats on top story!

  • Anna about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story!πŸ₯³πŸ₯³πŸ₯³

  • sleepy draftsabout a month ago

    Wow!!!! This is *awesome* - what an incredible index of work. I loved reading through these and getting to know the inspiration behind them. Also, it's too funny - my boyfriend just sent me the "past lives" song a couple nights ago!! Lol, sorry, I just got super excited about that πŸ˜†πŸ’— This is such an awesome playlist, also. I love the songs and bands you listed here. Thank you *so* much for writing and sharing this piece - what an awesome compilation. I'm so glad you shared this πŸ’—β€οΈπŸ’– Lol, now I'm even *more* excited to read your submission!! πŸ˜†πŸ’— Thank you so much, Alyssa! This was fantastic!

  • Kenny Pennabout a month ago

    I couldn’t agree more, Alyssa. I love how different genres of music spark different emotions, and that really helps with the writing process too

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