An Open Letter To Ingrid Michaelson

Dear Ingrid,

I wish to express my heartfelt thanks for your contribution to my body of work to date, ever since I was introduced to your music a few years ago. I know it’s much more standard to thank one’s influences, or the Academy, or God, or Steve Jobs for being part of the process that got me to the point where I own a laptop – and those are all important. But when you get right down to it, writing is all pretty much me. It’s my head down my fingers on to my keyboard.

But if I’m the engine, then music is the spark plug. Whenever I sit down to write something, I’m all “Yeah! I’m organised! I’m going to write stuff”. But due to a recent invention known as “the Internet” it can often take me a little while to get my head in the zone. Music, then, is the zone – a sudden transportation to a completely different feeling. Feeling happy while commencing work on that difficult puppy cancer novel? Get yourself some Hurt. Not having the greatest day but trying to rip through a blistering rom-com? You need some One Direction there, luv. Just trying to stay awake in your fourteenth hour of writing? Methinks one needs to smack one’s bitch up.

And then there’s you, Ingrid.

There’s a linguistic sub-category known as “ideophones”, which are rare or almost non-existent in the English language. An ideophone is basically something that describes a combination of things that would normally exist as separate words – such as an action paired with a feeling, or with the person who’s doing it. Awesome examples include the Navajo dil dil (the sound of several people walking), the Vietnamese loảng xoảng (sound of glass breaking to pieces or metallic objects falling to the ground) and the long-but-totally-worth-it thirudan pidipattavudan thiru thiru ena muzithaan (description of how a thief, when caught, would look and express his mood in his eyes).

That kind of description isn’t very common in English, but it is a very fitting description of what music does for me. And, more specifically, what your music does for me, Ingrid. Sometimes I just have thirty minutes of laptop time in a corner, and without the ass-clenching heart punch that your music provides I would spend most of that time listening to my stomach rumble or logging on to The Guardian website just one more time.

I listen to things, I go somewhere, I build that world, I come back. The faster I do that, the better I am. I can think my way into my new play “The Method”, and try to burrow into a married couple tearing each other apart – or I can listen to Spare Change. I can fall in love to jot down the one-man show I’m sketching out, or I can put Soldier on repeat. I can try to understand the intricacies of giving yourself unto someone who isn’t right for you for my new military piece, or I can absorb thirty seconds of Sort Of.

I could do the former, but the latter is more fun and more effective.

So thanks, Ingrid. I’m not amazing, but I’m getting better, and you’re more than a little bit of that.

Yours Sincerely,

Alan Flanagan

P.S. And now you’re spreading your awesomeness with charity cover magnanimity? Oh no you di’ehnt.

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About alfla

Playwright, screenwriter, sometime improv enthusiast and full-time television lover. You know, in THAT way.
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