Sunday, May 10, 2009


In almost every interview, reporters ask authors the same question: "What music do you listen to while you are writing?" On social networks like Twitter and Tagged, this question is often among the first things readers want to know. Perhaps this question shouldn't be so surprising. Music is one of the most common activities known to man. No one knows when music was first invented, and invented probably isn't the right term to use. Rather than invent music, it would be just as easy to say that music invented man, or at least drew individuals together in a way that made community living desirable. Music has always been with us in some form or another.

The oldest songs consisted mostly of rhythm -- a steady beat on some acoustical object like a hollow log with an animal hide stretched across the end. Rhythm is something that doesn't have to be explained. It is as much a part of our being as the rapid beating of heart. Go into some primitive village and play a song with a hard driving beat, and you will immediately get a response in the form of rapidly moving feet stamping out the rhythm. Once the 'beat' is established, the melody in the form of swaying bodies is soon to follow -- which carries me back to the original point I was trying to make.

What do writers listen to while they are writing? The best answer is it depends on the type of story he or she is plotting. You don't need the same tune to write a horror novel as you would to write a childern's story.

When I was writing Abraham's Bones, a suspense novel about the clash of politics, religion, and ethnic diversity in the Middle East, I used a number of songs to inspire me. Now that I am working on the sequel, I have again turned to the kind of music guaranteed to banish writer's block and immediately put me in the mood. The song I listen to the most is one I found on YouTube. It a composite of several Israeli songs that meld together in a surprising and inspiring way. If you like lively music, this video will immeditely grab you by the heart and send your imagination soaring. I hope I can convey some of the same passion on the pages of The Relic as I bring it toward completion.

Here is the link. I hope you enjoy listening to these talented artists. And for my Arab friends, here is another equally enjoyable link.

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