the writing process (‘It’s Complicated’) / My Fu II

I’m writing lyrics right now.

It’s hard not to put yourself into the lyrics.

It’s also hard not to overstate the point. It’s hard not to become another character. It’s hard to keep on task.

There’s times when you write lyrics because you HAVE a task. I wrote lyrics for a song I was doing for a friend because I whimsically and off-the-cuff told her I’d write her a song comprised entirely of limericks. She was doing this thing for lent and … well, it’s not my story to tell … but I wrote her a song.

Anyhow, there’s also times when you write lyrics because you are inspired by something else, and then you meander away because you enter a world of fantasy. This is probably true of most of my stuff. Words don’t rhyme right. You’re not in an appropriate situation to keep on with an interesting idea. Perhaps you want to write a song about adultery and you are not keen on cheating that day. Maybe take it even further? You are not a pairs skating Olympian and you don’t have a hankerin’ for murder? Well, let the lyrics fly. Songwriting is YOUR business! Then go home and wait for the fun questions (which I hate) to come rolling in:

-What was THAT???!!!
-Who was THAT about???
-Are you thinking about MURDERING your HUSBAND?
-Do you wanna cheat on your husband (sure! Don’t you know? We ALL DO!!!…. or DO WE????)?
-is there something you wanna talk about?

dah, dah, dah … on-and-on.

And sometimes, the songs ARE about people. or places. or things. or about more than one person, place, or thing. Sometimes they’re songs about me. People, places, or things INSIDE me that live in a cast of characters in my mind.

I wrote a cheating song, ‘Daylight,’ and it’s a whole spun out cheating song about two made up characters I wrote about in my mind on a hot day when I was super-bored. Texas is STUPID hot in the summer and I was bored and surly and depressed and I had some really good lines floating around in my head because I’d had a fight with someone. I started romanticizing the fight, then went with it and started developing characters. It got fun. I imagined the bedroom scene, the devastation of this woman (I started really getting into it … was she a whore he picked up? What did her dress look like? Was she pretending to be asleep? Da, da, dah …). She’s singing this tune in her head. She wants more…

The song got good. And it’s become a song I really like and stick by. I can play it both on guitar OR piano, so I must like it a lot.

None of my Fu went like that. The Fu process has been painful and difficult. It’s been like the process of labor, giving birth. They were all arduous tasks and I had to prepare myself and try very, very hard to put myself into the given themes. I wanted to reveal something about myself each round and I met my goals.

The first round I wrote a song and I changed my approach at the last minute because I read a bad review. It ended up being a good decision because there was no place for me to hide my lyrics in such a last minute decision. We ended up with the raw truth of what I was going for at the time. It was basically about a conundrum I was dealing with. It was a song about me, but it was really written about somebody else that I was projecting all of my feelings onto. I was very frustrated professionally and I had a lot of longing toward developing myself in certain ways. I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to approach someone I have intense feelings of professional admiration for (bordering on music-crushiness-passion-stuff) in that way with:

“Hey … I have been admiring you for a long time, lets DO something together!”

… up until now I have been very blessed to have things happen naturally and accidentally. I’ve been taken care of. That’s what happened to me in round two. I bit off more than I could chew and I had to figure out a way to rise to the task of writing something that would be singable for Joe; and I because I’d said impulsively that I’d do a duet in much the same way I said I’d write a song comprised entirely of limericks.

It’s an old-style recording, without the volume too high. I think that I will go into more detail about why I make the mixing decisions I make in another blog someday. If I feel like it. Or not. Maybe my secrets don’t really NEED justification.

Now I’m writing these lyrics. We went to the movies. The characters reminded me of me. And then they didn’t. Then my lyrics reminded me of me. And then THEY didn’t. And I think it’s a duet. But maybe it isn’t.

One of my girlfriends on TMA wants me to write a song about longing.. wanting something out of reach (basically, about being a woman and confusion and thirtysomething and blah-blah-blah-surroundedbymusicandboysandflowersandbeautyanddonutsandloveandsaltysnacksand stufffffff… and beerandcigars. And Ms. Pac-Man, or the Moog Keytar. Whatever your poison. And I will do that, but I think I’m cutting my teeth first on the idea of longing (you know, since I’m in a marriage that has gotten to the point where when we go to brunch we actually … bring BOOKS … and it’s TOTALLY FINE and DANDY with the BOTH OF US).

I think I’m learning about the longing because my body has entered the twilight zone again and I’m thinking masculinely about it. So this may end up being a duet with a beat. It may end up being inspired a bit by the movie, by the tinge of the forbidden and the violent (of course! it’s me!) and the clandestine and that … whatever-ness I always shove in there. Plus, I need a good win in the … pairs-figure-singing-mixer-ishness department. That’s how I’ll put that.

I need another Bluebeard. And it’s not happening for me. And when I write the Bluebeard that I need, I’m going to make a nice beautiful Blueberry Pie of a song for my friend and I that will kill everyone and break hearts. And then I will finish the other 20 I’m doing. And I will do this all at the relative speed of sound.

This is the damn plan anyhow.

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the writing process (‘It’s Complicated’) / My Fu II

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