This has been an unusual winter for me.
Usually I hate winter immediately. I don’t wait to experience the “I’m finally so over this” moment in January or February. I get depressed as soon as the clocks turn back and stay that way through May. Spring always feels like a tease. I just want it to be summer again as soon as possible.
This winter, I didn’t feel sad when the time changed so much as I just felt… disoriented. I do the bulk of my best writing between 3-9 PM, and, in the summer, most of that time is during daylight. When it starts to get dark my body knows it’s time to wrap things up and relax. This year, when it started to get dark at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, it felt like the best part of my work day was over before it even started. It took me a few weeks to get used to the dark, and they were a painful few weeks of reluctant/confused writing. But then, once things clicked, I started to enjoy the dark. I dreaded it ever going away, because it suits my material.
So I guess I’ve rather enjoyed this winter. But, while the coldest, darkest days have made it all the more pleasurable to stay inside and write, running outside has been outright brutal. So I’ve been heavily dependent on good music to get me out the door and through each afternoon’s first few unpleasant miles.
Here are 5 of my favorite winter running albums of 2014/15:
Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Winter (2014)
I cannot believe I don’t hate this for riffing so much off Bon Iver. It’s too good and too sincere. Sad, a little hopeful, sounds like the clash of the young and old halves of one soul. It’s incredibly brief and so perfect for short 3-5 mile runs, but I’ve also enjoyed listening on loop for over eight miles. Favorite Track: “Aftermath”
Madonna, Ray of Light (1998)
Arguably her best. I have vivid audiovisual memories of my mother playing this album to death in the late nineties. I was thirteen and she was in her early thirties and I could tell she was using the music to work something out inside herself. I like this album for fast-paced long runs. Favorite Track: “The Power of Goodbye”
Lady Gaga, The Remix (2010)
Excellent, excellent dance beats for days when I just feel completely sapped of energy. This puts me in the mood. Favorite Track: “Dance in the Dark – Monarchy”
Belle and Sebastian, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (2015)
Upbeat, sobering, good for keeping even pace. Favorite Track: “Everlasting Muse”
Lil’ Kim, The Notorious Kim (2000)
Classic. Filthy. Delicious. Great for cross-training at the gym and drowning out all the man grunts. Favorite Track: Queen B***H Part. 2 (Featuring Puff Daddy)
Questions for the Internets:
Do you listen to music while running/cross-training?
What albums have you been working out to this winter?
Is winter more conducive to creative dreams or nightmares?