Writing Rituals in the Wee Hours

I’ve read somewhere that Baroque music is supposed to stimulate creative brainwaves, and that’s all nice and very good. But what dials me into that beautiful frequency in my brain, where everything flows and the idea boxes fly open is, and will always be, Duran Duran. Their origami lyrics, synth arrangements, and cinematic music videos were synergetic with the creative machinery inside my head.

With the awarding of the Canada Council grant, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my writing self (and my writing rituals) these past 48 hours or so.

The years 1984 to 1992 were my most prolific and varied when it came to writing.  I would stay up late, drink litres of Diet Pepsi, and crank out short stories in single sittings. I won two national short fiction awards (1990 and 1992) in that era, actually. (Fun fact: CBC’s Duncan McCue, who was at King’s College at the time, won the poetry award one of those two years, and we were published side-by-side in Canadian Author and Bookman.)

I can no longer drink Diet Pepsi. It’s been more than six years and I miss it terribly even now. But I can still fire up the Duran Duran and immediately be in my creative happy place.

My favourite Duran Duran video isn’t, in fact, by Duran Duran; it’s by Arcadia, a side project from band members Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor in 1985. Arcadia’s one and only album has been called pure ear candy, and I couldn’t agree more. And it was so obvious that the boys were having fun — so much fun that Duranies were a bit afraid they might not come back.

Watch for the John Taylor cameo. It’s priceless.

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Karen J. McLean

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