We all find ways to express ourselves, finding outlets for the parts of us that demand to be seen and heard. If you’re here, you know that writing is one way we like to do that.
For me, writing has always been a challenge—one that I eagerly rise to meet again and again. The aspect of writing that I’ve always loved most is the challenge to take a concept—something ineffable, intangible—and transmute it, alchemy-like, into concrete thought. Words are magical like that. When chosen and arranged with care, they can take the ideas we’d only vaguely knew or understood and make them real and tangible for anyone who shares our language.
Another way I like to challenge myself in this fashion is through music, specifically through the creation of playlists. The right collection of songs, like the right collection and arrangement of words, can evoke a feeling or concept that you may struggle to express elsewhere.
I started this practice this past summer, when I realized that I associated a certain song with summertime. I then began thinking about other songs that were inextricably linked with summer in my mind. Soon, I was frantically scrawling down song titles on Post-it notes, and before long, a Spotify playlist was born.
Deciding which songs to put on the list was a lot of fun, but equally enjoyable was deciding the order in which the songs should be arranged. I found myself putting the most catchy, upbeat songs at the beginning, the slower, more thoughtful ones in the middle, and some punchy, big-statement songs at the end to wrap things up. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this post that I realized that the structure of the playlists I’d created mirrored the structure of most every story ever. A big attention-grabbing beginning, a methodical middle, and a show-stopping climax.
It’s finally getting (a little) cool where I live, so naturally, I had to make a fall playlist. The songs I picked don’t necessarily reference autumn outright. Rather, I picked them for the feel they evoked, and the only way I can think to describe that feel is crisp. But, then again, if I were able to put that feel into words, I would have done that instead of making this playlist! Different tools for different trades, but same end goal.