Thursday, December 1, 2011

Songs happen

A period of deep isolation in my late 40s gave me reason and opportunity to learn accoustic guitar.  No lessons, no sheet music, no theory; just chords swiped from established songs.  I found my first 'round' [G, Em Am, D] in the appropriately named fiddle tune; Poor Old Wayfaring Man of Grief.

Like Stephen King describes in On Writing, these creative works arrive as a bright flash; a premise or a phrase that immediately feels fully-formed, yet very well hidden.  Uncovering and assembling the pieces--the words, the chords, the story, the strum--becomes an obsessive journey that doesn't end until it's secure on the page. 

In six years around eight songs have come to me, and at least two remain unfinished.  Not exactly high production, except for the state I'm usually in when they arrive.  At first I play without a net; no pen, no paper, no recordings.  Good stuff is surely lost but that seems like a fair trade-off to the spontaneous combustion of exploration that is very much like the start of a new relationship--especially since these delightful episodes arrive by surprise and always leave me exhausted, unshaven, and way behind in my work...

No comments:

Post a Comment