Maggie O’Farrell Writes About The Importance Of Music And Silence In Her Writing

Maggie O’Farrell Writes About The Importance Of Music And Silence In Her Writing

Music does, however, play a large part in my working process: I use it to reach the point of starting, to attain that frame of mind where fiction happens. In the moments before I begin to work, I will turn on a painstakingly selected playlist of songs. They will all have a link to the novel in some way or another: a line might suggest a character, the sentiment of a chorus might bring to mind a scene or, if I’m writing historically, the music will help establish the period. They will all be so familiar as to be almost white noise. As soon as the writing comes, I turn off the music and put in my earplugs.

These were some of the songs I listened to while writing Instructions for a Heatwave:

Moses – Elizabeth Fraser

This Time Tomorrow – The Kinks

And She Was – Talking Heads

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

It Ain’t Me Babe – Bob Dylan

Life In a Glass House – Radiohead

I Put a Spell on You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon

Save Me – Aimee Mann