Today’s Writing Prompt: If a record company put together the soundtrack of your writing life, what songs would it include? List 10 songs that inspire, excite or compel you to put the pen to the paper. Start it off with “(fill in your name)’s Writing Soundtrack.”

     Since I cannot think of anything constructive to say at the moment, I thought I would rely on Writers Digest magazine and their daily writing prompts to get my brain flowing.
     I just want to preface this by saying that one of my biggest pet peeves is the simple-minded music that television and film creators choose for their stories. It is so obnoxious to watch a really touching moment when, for example, a main character is deep in thought about his love life and is having trouble falling asleep. Suddenly, this horrendous music that completely doesn’t match the mood starts playing and the lyrics are something obvious like “I can’t get to sleep…I’m thinking about her love…” Duh. Music is about so much more than just the lyrics—as a writer, I can’t believe I am saying this. But it’s true.

Kerri’s Writing Soundtrack

1. “Denied” by Andy Moore. Andy is a superb folk singer/songwriter that I had the pleasure of hearing during an open mic night in Provincetown. This song is all about the struggle between working to pay the bills versus doing what you love. Whenever I am down about the size of my bank account, this song always inspires me to keep writing.
2. “Little Plastic Castle” by Ani Difranco. Besides being fun and upbeat, this song encompasses the characteristics that I aspire to as a writer—in your face, intelligent dialogue. Extra points for being the only song I know of about a woman with a shaved head.
3. “Not a Pretty Girl” by Ani Difranco. What can I say? I just love Ani. When I have a particularly infuriating feministy topic to write about (like the abomination that is Joe Francis), I break out the version of this song from her So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter album…although the original is excellent as well.
4. “The Misere” by Joyful Company of Singer. This song can be found on the Buddha Bar compilation albums, which contain some of my favorite relaxation music. After a hard day at my full-time job, I like to unwind by listening to this song as I transition from Kerri the stressed-out director to Kerri the super-hip writer.
5. “Born Too Late” by the Clarks. After living in Pittsburgh, PA for a few incredibly depressing months, I was convinced that nothing good could ever come out of that city besides a decent football team and one of my favorite buildings in the world. Most of the Clarks’ music is about drinking beer, chasing women, and many of my other least-favorite activities. But “Born Too Late” really struck a chord with me because it questions who you could have become if you had been around to witness the works of visionaries like Martin Luther King Jr. and Williams Shakespeare.
6. “After All” by Dar Williams. As an incredibly busy person, I often have trouble stepping back from my life long enough to appreciate all that is around me. Most of Dar’s music speaks to me about the richness of life (if you just take a moment to breathe it all in), but “After All” is my favorite. When I’m truly stuck on new story ideas, I listen to this song to remind myself that so many story ideas can pop out at us if we just take the time to observe.
7. “This Is Me” by Girlyman. In all honesty, anything written and performed by Girlyman makes me want to be a better writer and an overall better person. Their harmonies, vocals, lyrics, etc. are just absolutely beautiful and I try to see them live as often as possible.
8. “Fill It Up Again” by the Indigo Girls. In my daydreams, I am a yoga practicing, environmentalist, vegetarian, coffee drinking, free-flowing writer/gender and cultural studies activist/professor. In actuality, I’m a stressed out work in progress who currently “forgets” to exercise, throws away more paper products than all of her neighbors combined, loves chicken, loathes coffee, barely finds the time to write and is several years away from becoming a professor. “Fill It Up Again,” a love song with eco-friendly analogies, lets me escape to the life of my alter ego and makes me feel closer to my dreams every day.
9. “The Perfect Drug” by Nine Inch Nails. Since junior year of high school, I have really enjoyed listening to this song during my more manic writing phases. This song has the perfect combination of hammering rock music, slower interludes, and the haunting voice of Trent Reznor never hurts my creativity. I also really love this music video because I have a bit of an obsession with “all things weird,” according to my mother.
10. “Bouncing Around the Room” by Phish. Besides the fact that I have never experimented with illegal drugs (which should give me an automatic pass for presidency!), I consider myself to be a hippie. I love the Grateful Dead, Phish, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, etc. This song really gets me into a great mood and is a perfect for when I want to dance around the office as I wait for the inspiration fairy to hit me.