Something very much right

A few years ago while on tour, I was given the chance to take a tour of the Google offices in Minneapolis, I think. (The city started with a M. Beyond that, it’s a blur.) The intent had been to chat with their reader group, but it fell apart to lunch at their legendary spread, and then because of a miscommunication, cupcakes in their lunchroom.

It was all very nice, and I enjoyed the tour as the young, late 20 something showed me around their various themed areas, proud of the fact that there was food available everywhere within a few paces of everyone’s desk. There were foozeball tables, and a slide to get from level to level, a place to do yoga, or just be alone. One section you could bring your dog in, and another had subdued lighting with leaf shadows on the floor. If you wanted, you could take your laptop to a brightly lit area that was set up like a living room to do your work in. It was all very nice, and as we went along, the woman seemed to be getting more and more frustrated that I wasn’t falling over myself with “ooh!” “Nice!” “I wish I had that!” Because, ah, apart from the foozeball table and slide, I did. I took for granted that my dogs were going to be a silent company, or that I had fresh caffeine steps away, or if I needed to step out for a moment into a garden to distract my mind so it would work better, that I could.

I think it’s great there’s a place you can go to work and be in an environment that you can work efficiently in, where they know creativity is born in various stimuli, not forced out like toothpaste by four walls and the latest software. But I’ve got one thing that they don’t. At least no one showed me.

My music is cranked this morning, shaking the windows as I sit at my desk. It won’t be quaking long, but the pounding of another crafter’s message into my psyche is singularly the best way to free the shackles. Always has been, way back to the communal fire, the storyteller’s stage.

And then it goes quiet apart from the soft scratch and click as brain-noise turns to text.

Perhaps Google should put in a music room. . . .


Filed under Drama Box

16 responses to “Something very much right

  1. I like this post. Just sayin’. 🙂

  2. Sofia

    Hi, Kim
    Any news on the Spanish editions ? I really want to read your books, I love Rachel 🙂

  3. Jaime

    Oh and in HS & college that was how I studied. I graduted from both with pretty good marks. Creative juices indeed. 😉

  4. Jaime

    Firstly, I am glad to see you have some drama to share. I’ve missed you.
    Secondly, I use music too. Not just for leisure. I have artists who are specific for certain tasks like cleaning music (Aerosmith & Bonepony) and getting ready music (Snoop Dogg & Blackstreet). I listen to most music. From Aretha to Dierks Bentley to Harry Connick Jr. to Metallica to ZZ Top. Classical ( I WAS in band back in the day.), jazz, rock, hip hop, r&b, country, pop, gospel, and so on. The only one I have aversion to is Bluegrass vocals, I love the instrumentals but when they sing it’s like nails on chalkboard. Of course this is the music my husband loves.

  5. BB

    Read about working in the Google camps. Where one is expected to work 80 hours per week, so that since one lives there they have to provide the amenities of home. Where getting sick and going on vacation is frowned upon and if one does one is expected to check in daily. However if one is a creative genius it is a rich environment…and the generous salaries are wonderful. Only young 20-somethings have the no strings, gung ho they need…get married and have kids, good luck.

  6. Carolyn P.

    I, too, had the best of working worlds by working from home, when I wasn’t traveling, for more than fifteen years. I absolutely love music, so you’d think the everything would be perfect, right? Not quite, my dilemma was that no matter what music I played–with or without headphones, loud or soft–when I was fully focused on the work I was doing, I stopped hearing the music or much of anything else around me. It took things like alarms going off to get my attention–no matter that I really, really wanted to hear the music! I was perfectly able to multi-task with the best of them, except when it came to listening to music. I blame it all on my dorm-mates back in college–a more more boisterous bunch of partiers would be hard to find–and I learned to tune out the noise when I needed to study, no matter what was going on down the hall. Now I can’t break that habit. Being a studious nerd can haunt you forever…

  7. Nicole

    When I work with graphics or designing and am setting our newsletter/magazine I prefer as well to listen to music. Luckily I can as well in my office, even if only via headphones so I don’t disturb the others. But it helps totally to form a singular world between me and the page I am creating on my computer screen.
    The other things by Google sound great too, but having food everywhere — gee, I am happy we don’t have that 😉 doesn’t sound all too healthy.
    BTW, nice to have you posting again.
    Do you have already a date, when the next Drafter book will be published? I am really looking forward to that one!

  8. I just wish Google was around when I was 20 something. At least at my current job, I’m alone most of the time so I can play music if I want. On occasion, like when my kittens were too young to leave at home unsupervised, I could take them with me to work.

    I am also happy to see you posting again.

    • SquidgeWA (aka JKH)

      Vampy! Hi, guy! How are those kittens? How are they getting along with the other four-foots in your household?

  9. Music is absolutely vital to me if I want to be creative or productive–I even have it on in the background when I’m doing some of the very uncreative work my job requires. I’ve got playlists for every mood and occasion, including the novel I’m writing. I rarely get to make the windows shake anymore since I live in a duplex, but I do sometimes crank it up when I’m sure my neighbor is out of the house!

  10. Mary K Brackett

    I have a Playlist of music that works for me for specific stories. Sometimes played so I can song along and just get in the mood and other times played just softly enough that it covers up distractions. Glad to know I’m not the only one that occasionally “rattles the windows” before sitting down to write.

  11. Carla L

    I worked in offices for years and the one thing I really hated about it were the four gray walls. And the gray cubicles! So yes, and environment that allows your creative juices to flow, is always best!
    On a side note, it is so great to see posts from you again. I had really missed them. 🙂

  12. I love working from home, but since I sing and teach music for a living, my creative space is filled with nature sounds, not music. As soon as the music goes on, I’m listening and evaluating. But yeah, the working from home is WONDERFUL.

  13. hollyabbie

    I agree with you 100%! I go to my car and crank up the music(Cannot do this in house) until the mirrors shake.

  14. Beckie

    The biggest productivity/creativity advantage I found in completing my two take home finals in law school was not my access to all the sources I could imagine, but my ability to turn on the local classic rock station and turn it up. It is amazing the steady pace you can maintain while turning out good work if you just have some groove behind it, and don’t have to worry about the proximity of the sound source to your precious inner ear. Music just sounds different when it is echoing off the walls.

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