Missing the concrete jungle…

His music was really wonderful....

New York. I never used to have any burning ambition to go there. I’m not much of a shopper – mostly because my limited finances don’t often allow me to go on a raging spree. I ended up there quite unexpectedly in the winter of 2007, and the city captured my heart in ways I don’t think I can even explain. I can remember the first moment I stepped out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Coming face-to-face… or face-to-steel with the New York Times building filled me with a moment of excitement and then… nothing. I felt almost disappointed. Was this it? It wasn’t what hours of Sex and the City had taught me it would be.


It didn’t take long to fall in love, though. New York City is an assault to the senses. It’s noisy – as noisy as you can possibly imagine it would be. Sirens, horns, shouting, talking, engines… it is truly impossible to take it all in. The sidewalks are always busy, everyone vying for a piece of terra firma, pushing through and constantly moving. Always moving. Even if you want to walk slowly, you can’t. No one ambles along in NYC – it’s as though you are being drawn, compelled against your wishes, driven forward by some invisible force. It’s only when you climb into bed at night that you realise just how much you’ve walked – and how little you’ve rested.


For me, it was the belief that anything can happen in this vibrant, crazy city. Anything you want to be, you can be in New York. The air is positively electric with optimism and resilience. From the middle-aged black man in Central Park who played his saxophone with such moody passion, to the group of thirty-something entrepreneurs in Starbucks who were pitching ideas for a record company, everyone has a story. Everyone is inspiring and interesting.


I’m not in New York today. I’m always missing it, though. If it weren’t for the city, I wouldn’t have written my novel Stolen Nights. I wouldn’t have decided with resolute certainty that THIS was going to be the one. I was inspired when I was there, feeding off the optimism that shines through. I was thinking about it today… and I can’t wait to be back in the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.


Setting my mood….

Irish instruments!

I will soon be starting a short story set in Ireland. Details to follow.


Whenever I sit down to write, I always select music that best sets my mood. Whilst writing ‘Stolen Nights’ my audio player had a continuous loop of instrumental Indian music (sitars and tablas), and a random collection of Hindi and Tamil pop. Then, if I was writing about New York, I would play jazz and Michael Bublé because those are the songs that most remind me of the time I spent there. I love music, as I have mentioned before. It is remarkable how my mood can be set by it, and how I can be transported from my desk at home to an exotic location just by the beat of a drum or the strum of an Indian sitar.


In preparation for writing about Ireland, I already have a whole playlist selected. For example, the whole score to the movie Titanic is filled with interesting hints of Celtic music – the eerie melancholy, the haunting notes. I enjoy being able to vividly imagine places based on the music I am listening to – and I suppose a healthy imagination helps, too! Sometimes I wonder where my writing would be without music because, when I think about it, there is always something playing in the background when I am pottering away at the keyboard. Sometimes I don’t hear it at all, but it’s always there.


Right now, I am listening to some classical. Who knows what inspired that notion! I definitely think I have the most random and varied taste in music. Upon looking through my track listing, I discovered I have songs in: English, French, Tamil, Hindi, Spanish, Italian and even one song in the most obscure language Konkani – and those obviously don’t include the instrumental ones! I sense that some Irish ones will be installed shortly!


I’m off to plot and plan now, and maybe get some writing done! 🙂



Rea x