A Bizarre Bit of Creativity Occurs When You Mess with Spotify

“an old dream.”

That’s the name of a playlist I made and shared with my good friend Stephen Austin Welch.

The tracking listing looks like this:

“Mysterons” by Portishead

“Paranoid Android” by Radiohead

“What’s a Girl to Do?” by Bat for Lashes

“Blue Bell Knell” by Cocteau Twins

“Overcome” by Tricky

“Frosted Flake Wood” by Hooverphonic

“A Forest” by The Cure

“Armageddon Days Are Here Again” by The The

“Chaos” by The Church

“Bear” by The Antlers

“Ain’t No Grave” by Johnny Cash

Stephen and I go back to high school, where we cut our teeth on 80s alternative music. That’s what the playlist reflects. But it also reflects my tastes since then.

In a way, not much changes.

But the reason I share this playlist with you is that as I was crawling through albums, listening to song after song and pulling the list together, it was apparent I had a theme outside of nostalgia.

Most songs have a very dreamy quality to them. That was unconscious. And if you think about it, nostalgia is a lot like a dream. We daydream of going back to those days. They are days we can never experience again…

But like a drug habit, we chase that euphoria.

Let’s Push This a Little Further

A good dream lasts all night.

They occur on those rare occasions when you sleep a solid eight hours. You find yourself in another world suddenly–and the narrative arc starts to unfold.

For a long time.

Of course that narrative arc is dysfunctional, creepy and down-right cryptic. But there it is, telling a story.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

While putting together that playlist I decided to challenge myself to actually write a story based upon the songs in that list.

If you think about it, what I was doing was no different than what Aaron Copeland or Astor Piazolla did when they wrote music.

Think Appalachian Spring or Tango: Zero Hour.

Both composers told a story. They just did it with music.

My challenge then–you’re challenge–is to put those stories in writing. To dig and ask yourself: what is going on here? Who is here? When is it? Where is it? How did we get here? And why?

That’s a creative prompt if I’ve ever seen one.

And if your story is crap [don’t worry, mine was–it will never see daylight], at least you wrote. At least you experimented and tried something new.

Why You Should Write Stories

By the way, if you’re wondering why you, a blogger, should bother writing stories, then know this: the best bloggers are storytellers.

If you missed it, here’s the link to playlist: an old dream.

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  1. Katherine Bates says

    See, thoughtful, inspiring posts like this one are exactly the reason that your blog posts are the highlight of my work day. Don’t get me wrong — I appreciate the writing blogs that show me how to ask for more $$ for my work, or the ones that teach me about SEO. At the end of the day however, I write because I want to create, to explore, to unveil, to experiment. I’m grateful that you honor that part of the craft of writing.

    • says

      Thanks, Catherine. That means a lot. I look around me and see all the posts going on about business, advertising, blogging, etc. and I’m like…I want to add to that noise? How can I do it differently? So here we are. 😉