Well maybe I’ll call or I’ll write you a letter
I’ve talked a bit about music on the blog before, and outlined my musical tastes a bit, but those influences would be easy to figure out if I never broached the subject — the chapter titles in 47 Echo and Supercritical are all punk songs. When I write, drive, or do much of anything, I tend to go towards late 70s/early 80s punk, mid- to late-90s hip hop, or hardcore industrial with some oddball death metal sneaking in now and again.
So it may surprise folks to learn that the band I’ve seen in concert most often (by a huge margin) is Better Than Ezra.
If you’re not familiar with the band, you can kind of tell they’re not death metal.
They’re a band that I probably wouldn’t have listened to much on my own (and that would be a failing, because they’re pretty damn good), but as they’re my wife Lisa’s favorite group, we’ve been to see them many, many times. If they’re playing within three hours of where we live, chances are pretty good we’re there.
The point of this entry is not to gush about a band (though, of course, check them out), but to segue into a discussion of stepping outside your comfort zone a little. On my own, I probably wouldn’t have listened to a lot of cool music my wife has introduced me to; stepping outside of the genres I was used to allowed me to discover a bunch of new stuff.
Writers — OK, I’m really talking about me and assuming at least one other writer does this — tend to read and write stuff in our own little comfort zones. Stepping outside of that by reading an author you wouldn’t normally read, or writing in a genre you wouldn’t normally touch… well, it can’t hurt. I didn’t start writing sci-fi until I was well into my 30s, but playing in that genre really opened up my possibilities.
So, what’s a genre someone got you into (music, books, whatever)? What genres do you avoid?