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Dina Nayeri Recommends...

Writers Recommend

Posted 11.19.13

“I have a good old-fashioned muse—a brilliant friend who finds me music. His taste is exquisite and he takes the time to discover unknown artists, or rare, forgotten albums from long ago. I’m always hitting him up for new stuff and it’s never disappointing. Sometimes he sends a choppy track sung by two kids in Kenya. Sometimes it’s a well-known weirdo folk song, or a guitar piece from a Caracas slum, or an improvised ten minutes on jazz piano, or a bluesy, scratchy, whiskey-soaked dirge from some forgotten dive in Tennessee, a Rastaman with lyrics so good your mouth waters, your vocabulary suddenly altered, or a R&B track so sexy it makes you blush all the way down to your navel. Whatever he sends, it always works to put me in that place, the creative center where I’m at my best. I like to arrive at my favorite café, order a cappuccino, put on whatever song I’m obsessed with that week (right now it’s “The Werewolf Song” by Michael Hurley and “Não Existe Amor em São Paulo” by Criolo), and let my mind travel. I waste hours like this before I get to work. It’s a luxury of living a writing life, to wander so far from the physical world, and to soak in someone else’s art, taking the time to make it your entire sensory experience for a few minutes. When I listen to music and when I write stories I feel like I’ve finally stopped wasting my life, that I’m renewed every day, crackling and bursting with creative energy.”
—Dina Nayeri, author of A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea (Riverhead, 2013)

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