When I write lyrics,
I feel like my words are trapped.
line break there was completely unintentional. It was just one of those
things that happens when you’re typing. Less intentional than a typo.
More like a Freudian slip of a finger that got excited without being
asked to, like a dog when you accidentally drop the word “walk” into a
conversation he happens to be listening to. Perhaps I should apologize
to my finger as I would a dog, No, I’m sorry boy, not right now.
voice you hear right now isn’t quite my own. There are echoes in it,
echoes of Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss. I am ok with this. They are
echoes I want you to hear when I write, along with Orson Scott Card, a
dash of Heinlein, and some trimmings of Hemingway. When I write lyrics, I
want you to hear a little Collective Soul, a tea/tablespoon of Our Lady
Peace, spiced with Rob Thomas and seasoned with Jason Mraz, Train, and
Joshua Radin. Of course, I just want those things to bring out the main
flavor. . . I want you to hear me.
problem then, stems from two sources. The first, which may render the
second null and void, is my favorite critic. The problem with him is
that he’s just about as good for me as drinking too much the night
before, or singing karaoke in a smoke-filled bar when I have to get up
at 7 for work the next morning. He’s a pretty good critic, he’s had a
lot of practice. He’s been following me around like a bad hangover my
whole life. He needs to work out, he’s fat from all the negativity he’s
second problem? I feel like my words are trapped. I run in this endless
cycle of themes and words that beat their heads repeatedly into my
haphazard rhyme schemes. Destiny. Fate. Shadows. Silhouettes. Moment.
Me. You. Love songs written through the lens of fiction, folk and faerie
tales, mythology. My critic is discontent. He says I can do better. He
points at Collective Soul, Our Lady Peace, and Jason Mraz and says. Look
at them. Look at what they can do with their words. I want to scream in
his face, STOP FUCKING COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS. Somewhere, a
skinnier, not-quite-malnourished wolf in the background whines
discontentedly and paws his empty food bowl. It’s hard to remember to
feed him with the other so demanding, so strong.
haven’t always been hard on myself. I meant to write the opposite, that
I have always held myself to these expectations that I keep failing to
meet. The absolute of it ran into a wall at my sophomore year of high
school. I remember how much I worked to study French. It only seems like
work in retrospect, because I know I didn’t notice back then. It was
just how I studied. How I met the goal set before me. I miss that sense
of effortless effort. It just was, and it was just what I did and how I
did it. It may have even been fun. I can’t remember, that part of the
memory is obscured by the mists of passing years. I think it was. A lot
of the things that grew up to seem like work were just things I did for
fun to pass the time when I was young. I wrote my first attempt at a
story when I was in elementary and middle school. Only once since then
have I had an attempt at fiction break the page count record I set then.
I love writing. . . but it isn’t so effortless now.
it is simply the lack of practice. The drowning of imagination in the
worry and care of being an adult. The attempt to slog a path through a
bog of life that has never had a clear one for me. I am where I am now
simply as an effort to survive. Career doesn’t have much appeal to me.
Corporate life has much, much less. Where once we worked in tune and
time with our bodies and the earth to make it through our days, now we
cast ourselves into meaningless factories of information and profit.
When I write lyrics,
I feel like my words are trapped.
My life lacks purpose.
I need more meaning than God,
I need a higher goal than heaven.
I am still floating
or trudging or slogging
through one of the boggy sections
of the river of life.
The water is clearer than it once was,
but the day is still young
and the fog that rose from the cold night air
where it touched the warmth of the water
(or was it the warm air on cold water?),
that fog still lingers and I can’t see
even to where the river bends.
purpose gives people a lodestone, a compass, a North. It is a north
star, a guiding light. There must be more to being than simply being and
more to a journey than a road that is both path and destination. If I
am to simply be, than why be at all? Not being is unacceptable. The
fog-ridden bog I am in feels like not being. I am like the plant I keep
on my counter in my apartment. It is alive. It is strong. It can’t grow.
It has fed on nothing but water for over a year. There is no soil for
its roots. No nutrients. Just subsistence. Survival. That plant and I
have a lot in common. We both want more. More. More. I want more.
friend of mine went sky diving recently. I thought the idea of it would
leave a bad taste in my mouth, the way the idea avocado and cheesecake
does. It was one of those things I could never imagine myself doing. I
don’t enjoy jumping off of high things. I don’t enjoy the battle inside
myself between fear and action. She made her experience sound so
beautiful, so freeing that I don’t know anymore. If the opportunity
arrives, I may not be able to say no.
secretly, so secretly, if the opportunity arrives, I hope it doesn’t
come when the moment will be defiled by a private desire that my chute
won’t open, that the next car will claim what I refuse to, that some
terminal disease will steal me from the world early. That tiny dark
voice is not me. It doesn’t belong to the man I am. It doesn’t belong to
the man I want to be. But it comes from the dark forest into the
clearing of my soul, and lingers on the edges. How I wish to walk
further down the river, and be swept away from this piece of darkness
inside of me.
The sky is blue. I am not sure I see it.
The sun is shining. I am not sure I feel it.
But out in the sun and sky is where I want to be.