Tag Archives: music

Summer School with Genji Onishi: How Beautiful One Word Can Be


The second in an ongoing series by undergraduate students in Intro to Creative Nonfiction at the University of Iowa reflecting on writing and revising. In this post, Genji Onishi draws inspiration from jazz pianist Bill Evans.

A topic brought up in our class a lot has been about how music might influence our writing, whether it’s a certain playlist or a song which through repeated plays has faded to some part of the brain that’s not really listening but helps the other parts to focus entirely on writing. Perhaps even music can affect the mood of our writing, as though when some emotional part of our brain lights up, the unconscious or zone or wherever place we write from draws from that light and smacks it onto the paper, as vividly as if the reader were hearing it. Continue reading

Installment One: 20-minute writing to specific playlist

Every now and again, I make a little mix of music to write to for twenty minutes. Sometimes, much longer. Here’s the latest one I made and wrote to. Reasoning for arrangement:

#1 — Little Dragon’s track is at first funky, which makes me think for a second that writing is also funky and fun. This helps to get things going with little pressure. I might even nod my head to the beat while I type. But the funkiness doesn’t last, neither in every part of the song nor in my writing-mind. The song shifts into a dreamy elliptical soundsphere, which carries my mind away a bit like hypnosis or drugs and makes me think of weirder stuff, makes my mind wander a bit. So, this one gets the creativity flowing slightly. Then, it fades out, and all I hear is the tapping of keys for five seconds until Continue reading