Songwriting

July 11th Saturday’s Alright for Songwriting

Prompts are fun. I try not to take them too seriously. After a first impression, my thoughts veer into the different ways I might interpret a prompt. Could be a word be both a verb or a noun, like snake?

Having been raised (as a songwriter) on Pat Pattison’s object writing, I tend to seek the physical objects in a prompt and explore them. These days I skip the object writes do a quick  “word splatter.” (Lots of people call this brainstorming, or mind mapping, “word splatter is messier and I like it that way).

After I finish a word splatter I see if words on the edges of the splatter might be interesting together. If the word is “snake” I might find myself with words like apple and slither on the page. How might an apple slither? I don’t know but that’s a cool image. It may not lead to anything productive, yet I feel these sort of verbal calisthenics prime the writer in my brain with lots of fun playful ideas before I start. When I start writing, all those images which have been stirred up and may find their way into the lyrics.  

Here’s a link to Jennybird Alcantara’s original image

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a worksheet you can print up to try these ideas out, (or the ones from last week). The worksheet is meant to give you an opportunity to write out a bunch of different potential chord progressions and see what they sound like and what you like.



Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

The Streak

Many websites and apps count streaks. In The Creative’s Workshop I recently completed, I showed up one day and my avatar had a little purple checkmark overlaid on it. Sort of like a gold star. It meant I’d shown up and posted every day for some number of days.

At some point it disappeared from my avatar. I missed a day of posting somehow. I broke the rule for showing up so I lost my purple check mark. Then, a few days after the workshop “ended” I avatars with a banner of a marathoner breaking the race ribbon. Still unsure how I’d lost my purple check mark, I felt jealous and a bit put out.

But what really changed? 

I was still proud of my work. I still made great connections with people in the group. I’m still showing up every day to do my work. I was certainly doing more than enough by my own standards. 

I bring it up because WordPress counts my streaks as well. I’ve currently posted 18 days in a row. Prior to that I’d gone on a 30 day streak. Every time my streak gets broken, I feel a twinge of regret. Yet, what is the point of the work? To be acknowledged by a computer algorithm or to find out what I can offer to others and learn by showing up?   

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Imperfection, Self Love

What if it were Easy?

My projects start with an idea and lots of excitement. The energy of the excitement carries them forward and they expand. Somewhere in the excitement, the project can start to collapse under the the weight and complication of that expanse. It’s impossible to do everything. That’s when it’s important to ask myself; “What if it were easy?” 

Couldn’t it be simple? Couldn’t the project be set up to simply drift down lazy river in an inner tube?  What would it look like if it did?  

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Songwriting

The Smoke from your Security

This is a one take from mid-March of 2020. There’s not a lot more to say really.

https://youtu.be/4OjvTKLc0Mg

Haul your lunch from day to day
Honest work for honest pay
No idea the net has slipped
No idea the boat has shipped

Working for the steam to run
Hard work, hard days but hardly fun
Find no diamond’s in this shoveled coal
At the poker table who’s the fool?

Taste the sulphur of regret
While you save ashes from your cigarettes
Honey drizzled in the owners tea
Is the smoke of your security

A busted day a dollar missed
A chance you take, the devil’s kiss
Frittered youth pissed into a pot
No idea it’s all you’ve got

Comes along a younger man
Bottled lightning in his plans
Watch him do the work of two
Wish to god that was still you

Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

Who’s Tallest?

I started my life looking up to people, literally. When I was born my closest sibling was five years my elder. My brother a towering ten years old.   

As I grew, I was always comparing myself to others. One of my biggest benchmark’s was growing taller than my mom. Eventually, I passed her. (I never grew taller than my dad).  

I would seem silly today to stand back to back with a peer and see who is taller. And yet, I’m constantly focused on who is better than me. Am I better than this person, or that person? And if I can’t beat someone in height, or talent, I’m nearly always looking for some other way in which I can best them. Maybe their smile is stupid, or they talk in a way that annoys me.

It’s a pretty human thing, this comparison. (I don’t do any of this out loud of course). And yet, wouldn’t it be preferable to simply let people be themselves?     

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