What are your rituals before you write?
When I sit down to write the first thing I do is panic. “What am I going to write?” I’ll stress over that for a few minutes. Then I’ll check my email, look at Facebook, the news and reread my last post or two.
Then to focus I’ll often listen to a song on YouTube. Simon and Garfunkel brings out the poet in my mind so I often start there. Paul Simon had a way with words that has inspired the poetic side of my mind for years. Often when I am writing I’ll listen to The Sounds of Silence and my mind slips away from the reality surrounding me and into that place were words swirl and reform. On a good day these words flow through my fingers into the keyboard to land here on this blog.
There is something timeless in Paul Simon’s words, “Hello Darkness, my old friend,” and onto the end “And whispered in the sounds of silence.” There is a truth in his narrative and images around light and silence. It’s a classic use of images – “… turned my collar to the cold …” and steady progression building from darkness to silence.
Recently I stumbled across a cover of this song by the heavy metal band, Disturbed. Normally I’m not a fan of metal music. I’ve listened to it, but it’s never something I click on to listen to. But this time they had a song I loved and I was curious.
I’ve love the original 1964 vision with Simon and Garfunkel’s vocals. Sung with simple guitars, the haunting song has inspired me for decades.
Disturbed’s version of the song does a number of musical things to the song, but doesn’t change the words. David Draiman is the lead vocal and sings an octave lower than the original and they added more instruments to the mix – drums, keyboard, more guitars.
Draiman also adds more vocal power to the middle of the song with his voice turning raspy and nearly yelling by the time he gets to “Hear my words that I might teach you.” His vocal control and range is amazing. His sensitivity to the needs of the song take the timeless words Simon wrote to a new level of importance. Disturbed does something great here – taking a classic song to a new level.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been starting my poetry writing sessions with Simon’s words as sung by Draiman.
and that’s how habits shift and new rituals are formed.
Link to both versions: