Tuesday, January 27, 2015

writers write

I'm at Howards for my weekly writing session. Actually, I would love it if it actually were weekly. This is the first time I've actually made it out here this month...so the best I'm really hoping for is that I don't just spend the whole night knocking off the cobwebs and actually produce something. Time will tell, though

Sometimes when I come here, it's with a firm agenda. On the good days, an idea has wormed its way into my head, and I can't keep my head from spitting out possibilities all day...and when I get here, the ideas explode onto the paper. But writing relies an awful lot on muscle memory, and I haven't been writing songs as of late...so that ain't going to be the case tonight.

Instead, all I really bring with me are two fragments. The first came to me in the middle of the night about three weeks ago...so I grabbed the first thing I could find (a business card for a sadly defunct music store) and wrote down "spend all my time with animals--robots and mechanicals--dreaming of who someday I may be." What I was going to do with this, however, is a bit of a mystery...but it's evocative enough to where I'll figure out something eventually. I also have "maybe you'll stay if you still believe in love." This one, however, is less certain.

I did wake up yesterday with a damn-near complete heavy honkytonk song from a dream. It was pretty bleedin' good, but the chorus ended with the line "loving you is like a shotgun to the face." I couldn't bring myself to write this one down, though. The world has enough misogynistic murder ballads already without me adding to the toll.

The only thing I know I absolutely need to do is rewrite my song "Rise Above." It's about having a friend who has shut off his brain to the point where he's ruined his very real potential and is well on the way to becoming just plain ignorant. Draft one went, after two verse/chorus combos and a bridge, into a list of all the ways this person (and, by extension, the world) was turning into a particular brand of narrow-mindedness which was driving me crazy.

I really liked this version, but two things happened. The first time I played it, a few people make a joking "We Didn't Start the Fire" reference. Sigh. Also, it was friggin' exhausting to sing. So I gave it a normal third verse. Only problem? The normal third verse made the whole song feel normal. Double sigh.

So will I get any traction on "Rise Above?" Will I figure out what to do with either of the fragments I do have? Dunno. But I do know the only way to find out is to sit and do the work. There is only one truth in writing: writers write. That is what they do.

Time to become a writer again.

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