Crossing the Streams

Kris turns on the radio in the kitchen and immediately my writing ceases. “Ahhhhh…” I groan. It’s NPR again — “noise pollution radio”.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

“Do you know what it’s like every time you turn that on?” I say. “It’s like I’m building a wall in my head. It’s a carefully constructed wall with every brick in the right place. I’m trying to get the wall down on paper.” (By paper I mean into my text editor, but Kris understands.)

“And every time you turn on NPR — every time — that wall comes tumbling down and I have to start over.”

I’m always amazed when I read about people who can write while listening to non-music audio. Trent claims that he listens to podcasts while writing. How? I could never do that. It’d be like crossing the streams! (Which we all know would be bad, right?)

I can listen to music while writing. I can write in silence. But I cannot write in a situation where there’s discernible dialogue. No radio. No movies. No television. Not even coffee shop conversations. If I can hear speech, I want to parse it, and it prevents me from forming words of my own.

Which is why I’m now outside on the lawn; I’m attempting to rebuild the wall in my head.