Crazier Than I Knew
Athletes are known for having nutty superstitions around their performances. One major league pitcher used to brush his teeth between every inning. Another player is known for his vast number of rituals including pre-game chicken meals and drawing symbols in the dirt before every at-bat. The general sense seems to be that these rituals imbue an athlete’s performance with some kind of magical ability to not suck when it really matters.
But athletes aren’t the only ones with nutty superstitions. Word is that stage actor John T. Raymond used to hide indoors on the opening day of each of his new shows because he was afraid of seeing women with red hair whom he regarded as a bad omen. Crazy, right?
I used to laugh at all of this just like the rest of the world. Unfortunately, having just finished working on Lucidity, I now know that I’m one of these nutcases and my days of laughing are over.
You see, in the world of music composition, a good rule of thumb for judging your progress is the pace of writing and orchestrating a minute of music per day. When I started working on Lucidity, I hadn’t written a full score in a couple of years and I was worried that I’d be rusty and not remember how to do it. Creativity is like a muscle and if you don’t exercise it, it can become flabby and get winded just walking up the stairs.
The first day that I was to sit down and write music for the game, I happened to stop by a smoothie place for breakfast on my way into work. It’s one of those smoothie places where they toss vitamins and stuff into your drink so that you feel like your cup full of sugary goo is actually healthy. Anyway, sufficiently smoothied-up, I went into work and then proceeded to write, orchestrate, and fully produce 3 minutes of music in one day.
And so was born my smoothie superstition.
Every day that I worked on Lucidity, I had to go into that freakin’ place and order the exact same smoothie. The one day I didn’t, I had writers’ block and that seemed to cement my belief in the power of The Smoothie. After a few weeks, the cashiers would see me walk in and just say “Hey, Jesse. The usual?” and I’d have to say “yes” because I was enslaved by its soy milk, blueberry, and “vitamin” magicality. For a month and a half, I had the same exact thing for breakfast every day.
In the end, I’m thrilled with the way the music for the game turned out. Is it all due to The Smoothie? Probably not. But I wouldn’t have wanted to take that chance.