Songwriting and Dating

Working on Writing Songs is a lot like dating.  How so? You ask.  Let me tell you.

I've been working on writing songs for this February Albums songwriter Month.  "FAWM".  The idea is that you write 14 songs in 28 days.  I went into this thinking it would atleast be easy to begin, but it's day 5 and I have half a song and a bunch of one liners and useless chord progressions that sound a lot like a bad song you'd hear in a coffee shop from 1997.  So really, it's not so easy. I want to throw in the towel now and just quit trying to write songs all together.  I don't know how professional songwriters do it on the clock, with pressure, and some record executive breathing down their neck. 

I believe in a muse.  What that muse is, I don't know. But there is a force outside of ourselves that drives art  And most artists will tell you that when they are creating something good, it's like they are out of body for that short time.  That something else is spawning the creativity and acting through them.  This may last a long time, or a short time.  When it comes though, you had better be ready or it will disappear and leave you and you don't know when it will return, if ever. This is why many artists carry a notebook or a phone to jot down inspiration when it hits.  I sing melodies into my phone when they come to me so I don't forget them. Sometimes the muse shows up with a clever lyric, or a clever chord prorgression, or a riff, or a melody that you can't get out of your head.  Sometimes it's there for an entire catalog of songs that you can't quite keep up with as you write frantically trying your best to keep it all on paper.  It's like trying to catch a waterfall in a plastic cup.  Sometimes It feels like it's left you.  You've poured out every drop of that cup, and even used the cup so all you have left are empty hands upturned waiting for more while no songs are coming. 

The muse is tricky though.  And this is where it's like dating.  You see the muse likes to be caressed and massaged and told that it's beautiful, but only when it wants you to.  When I try too hard to write a song or come up with the best idea ever, it's no where to be found.  It senses desperation.  It senses neediness.  The muse will not be coerced.  I need to be available but not shouting "look at me"! I want to write a song and I want to write a song now! It's a lot like love.  When you're single, love comes and goes.  That feeling comes the first time and you don't really know what it is, but you know it's real and you know it's good.  You might not be good at it, but it's there.  you start searching for this feeling more often, questioning all the other feelings to see if they are love.  But love is only one feeling, and shows up when least expected most.  Love cannot be forced.  A forced Love is probably worse than a forced song, but I'm trying to make a connection here.

Songs don't come to me in hundreds or dozens at a time.  They come in seldom few or singles at a time.  Sort of like relationships.  Not that I don't think that Hundreds if not thousands of songs oppurtunities for relationships out there, but I believe the muse reveals them to me when the time is right.  Or fate, when it comes to love. Whatever you want to call it.  This is all sort of magical. And I like to believe in magic when at all possible. Don't tell me the scientific answers or reasons for everything in the world. I want to believe in the mystery of it all.  God, Love, Art, Fate, etc.... 

All this being said, I believe in hardwork.  The muse respects an artist sitting down and putting their soul into something. Squeezing out all that essence that makes you who you are and putting it into that lyric.  that's where the two meet.  The Muse and the soul.  That's where you get the Timeless work of great artists. Soul and Blood. I think it requires a little blood to make good art. That's when it speaks to us most.  When you can see the artists soul and blood out in the open.  It surpasses time, which is why great art stands for centuries.  Keith Richards said that a Painter starts with a empty canvas, a writer starts with an empty page, and a musician starts with silence.  Make something out of it. 

Fawm May not give me anymore songs than I had to begin with.  I feel like the muse is angry with me.  I can hear it yelling at me. "Oh, now you want me to show up. Now you want me to give you something you want.  But where have you been the last 6 months?  Hanging out late at bars, coming home drunk, sleeping around, giving your love to something else. You owe me an apology.  And when you apologize, then you're going to do house work and buy me rings and diamonds and cars until I'm satisfied.  And when you've spent all this time and money and energy on me, we'll see if I give you a song or not."  February is going to be a long month.




Dearest Ryan... I read on the FAWM facebook site... excellent is the killer of good. Jeff and I had a discussion about the multiple ways this could be interpreted, but I was hit with... good is never good enough, with excellent around... and therefore, not much gets done very (good) well... In fact... not much happens at all. So, I decided to let good drive the car, and maybe, just maybe, excellent will hitch a ride for a short way.

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