Ear Worm Analysis (as opposed to dream analysis)

I have begun a new writing project. I’m not sure whether it is simply something I will do every morning as sort of a free-writing exercise to “get the juices flowing” so to speak, or if it will turn into something. At this point, I’ve given up trying to predict what will bear fruit and what won’t. I have proven myself to be woefully inaccurate at that. So often, I send out something for publication that I think is really damn good and it gets roundly rejected over and over again and then I will write something here on the blog that gets a tiny readership and folks respond by saying it ought to be spread all over the place for more people to see. (By the way, anytime you feel that way about anything I write, you are hereby given permission to share, share, share. Just sayin’…)

Anyway, this new project was spurred by the fact that I wake up each and every morning with a snippet of a song in my head – like an ear worm that I inflict upon myself. The song is generally different every day, and it often takes me half an hour or so to even notice that it’s been playing in the background for a while. It is my brain’s elevator music, but stuck on one phrase so that it plays the same lines over and over again.  I am pretty sure I was in my 30s before I realized that this is something not everyone does – wakes up with music playing in their head.  

I don’t remember my dreams except for maybe a few times a year, but the other day it occurred to me that perhaps there is just as much good information in the songs in my head. After all, they must be a function of my subconscious, right? Last week, I decided to start writing them all down along with a little journal entry and see if I can find a pattern. Of course, the first thing I worried about was that I might somehow subconsciously influence myself simply by paying attention, so I do my best to write about it and forget it during the day. 

I’m six days in and so far, I have no clue. The songs have run the gamut from annoying pop songs (although, interestingly, not ones that the girls tend to listen to a lot – they are more into independent singer/songwriter stuff or, in Lola’s case, Panic at the Disco) to, yesterday morning, the theme song from James Bond – I shit you not. Try writing that one down. There are no lyrics. It’s just “dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun…DUN-DUN.” 

If nothing else, it is a reason to plant my butt in a chair and write first thing in the morning, and that I appreciate. Because my brain is so suggestible when it comes to music, if I don’t record the song before I see or talk to anyone else in the morning, it could easily be replaced by another one that the girls are listening to as they get ready in the morning. Or, if Bubba is home, he delights in planting obnoxious songs in my head just to see if he can – his favorite ones are Guns ‘n Roses songs because I can’t stand them. 

I’ll keep paying attention for the time being to see if I can discover any trends or valuable insights, but in the absence of that, at least I’ve got something to write about every day. 

4 replies
  1. chriswreckage
    chriswreckage says:

    This is a good idea! I am haunted by the endlessly repeating pattern of a portion of a song every day and for as long as I can remember. I have never chosen to keep a record of it, but it might be fascinating. What I find most disturbing, is that it seems like a lot of those snippets are songs that I do not like – AT ALL!! Maybe those are the ones that stand out in memory, because they are actively annoying. But it is curious what leads to these haunting melodies from the dark recesses of our minds.

  2. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I would love to read your blog every day — have you ever considered a daily post as a sort of writing exercise? Also, when are you, Carrie and I getting together on a writing retreat?

  3. Deb Shucka
    Deb Shucka says:

    Anything that gets us in the chair and writing has value, right? I hope you find some meaning here, or even better, a new direction for your writing life.

  4. Carrie Wilson Link
    Carrie Wilson Link says:

    Hey, I like Elizabeth's idea! That would be amazing! I need something to jump start me, I have a huge case of the Why Bothers? I like your tap-into-the-sub-conscious idea, it's a goody. Ride it out. Also, again, thank you for the enlarged and easier-to-read background color! Hugely helpful!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *