Secrets and Songs

Hi it’s me.

(this is not the song the post is about)

I wrote a song once years ago for that song contest I have historically done (Song Fight!) called Colorblind. So not recently. Recently-now I am thinking to finish a song called ‘This is Fine.’ At the moment, I don’t know that they’d have a title like “colorblind or Only I think it is meant to be spelled in the overseas sort of way with what I think of as ‘vacation vowels’—so with the ‘U.’ Like in the improv game Be More British.

Anyway, I did this long ago. Because it was the given title and we were told to. This had to have been sometimes between 2009-2011. I think I was supposed to not have a chorus and sort of meander along or maybe tell a story or I don’t remember. Typically for me at that time, I wrote it about a super secret almost-relationship I had had which was frustrating to me. I wanted to write about this thing that had happened so briefly that nobody in the entire universe even knew about so much so that I often forget it was there. Now, this is decades ago and I was so different.

In songwriting, not even five-ish years ago, I used to be vague but also forthcoming. I wrote in metaphors. But always, I look for signs. Maybe I’ll do this #songcontest I used to do again and maybe I will not. It seems to be a deadline my songwriter clock respects for some reason. The only other way I hustle is for an opening day or money.

I found these old lyrics, looking for paper. These were not the ones I used. These were full of flowery metaphors and obfuscations about what I was going through then. And my songwriter muscles are a bit out of whack after the switching gears into improvising and not sitting and crafting scenes and moods and a musical agenda. But there has to be a balance, right?

A Factual Picture of the here-sitch-now-itch.

1. lists have become popular and i am constantly comparing myself to other people. I read that such behavior is not what happy people do in a recent article posted by some extremely useful Twitter friends of mine that I haven’t met yet but who are on Austin bumper stickers Famously everywhere and generously and positively #follow-Friday lots of people. This makes me realize that I am comparing myself to happy people. I Cannot Win.
2. Everything I do right now feels trite and boring.
3. I am the acne monster from the Hormonal Lagoon. I cannot be looked upon. I am hideous. I should write a cute song about myself and sing it in a Texas accent to the French people and perhaps I will make it big on French radio. Or does it work the other way around? I don’t think it does unless I sing in French.
4. I’ll get right on that. I’m sure I can just go learn some French in a jiffy. Perhaps one of my alert readers (nod to the immortal Dave Barry) can put this for me into a Cute Song:

“My god, I am covered in acne!
Disgusting hormonal abberation which I have become
You will not look at me
or talk to me
I should not be talking to you anyway
I am a vampire
You are a donut
I am a werewolf
You are a shark
I am a shopping cart
You are a tree
I am the ocean
You are a pair of broken spectacles
I don’t like to fish
You watch movies about angry bears.
I got a telegram the other day
It said you were angry. It was not from you. But I find
I do not care. I do not care. I do not care.”

5. I somehow just KNOW that this translates into something Meaningful and Profound. I will sing it whilst smoking, and wearing a beret and stripes. They will Not chase me out of the country after I have arrived in Paris, but will Get It, and bring me orange soda. I don’t know if that is a thing over there, but I am out of my Jarritos Mexican coke which is Tamarind flavored and I find that I either want something Strawberry flavored or orange or a Mountain Dew or something.

6. I would eat a three musketeers bar if one came and tapped me on the shoulder.

7. I’m so oily right now it’s not EVEN funny!

“Must be Nice” or … ‘First World Problems’

I went out on a sudden and unexpected date with my husband because we needed to talk. Upon my return, I started thinking of Valentine’s Day, and remembered a post half written. I finished it and dolled it up tonight. It was a promise to a friend.

I have a lot of those I need to come through on in the next couple months.


It’s a common thing you hear from bitter folks who either don’t want to spend money on Feb 13th, overworked waitspersons getting lousy tips because of the high incidence of restaurant drama, or other single people who look at you as if you are the one who instigated their last eight breakups with your fourth finger poison ring.

“Valentines Day is a day made up by a greeting card company to sell schmoopy stuff to the lovelorn” … or whatever. “The Hallmark Greeting Card company made it up …”

Stuff like that.

My husband and I don’t celebrate it. We had one picnic, one time, packed a little hamper and a bottle of Verve Clicquot and cheeses and stuff you’d get when you were in Napa when you go to that little grocer with the Rabbit on the sign before you drive out. We were very Upper Middle Class Countryside. We looked like we were doing a holiday the RIGHT way. I had done the correct prep as a wife; like something out of Real Simple magazine. I ROCKED. I was Beyond Reproach. Be very jealous, the string quartet reminded everyone.

Back in the real world, I had done what is known as “marrying well.” I married for love, but he liked computers (and me). The WHOLE WORLD likes computers though, and people who know stuff about computers get paid. Meanwhile, in Austin, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a songwriter, and even though I have heaps of theoretically marketable skills – I market myself about like this:

“hey, see this booger? it’s gonna play a show tonight. it doesn’t really feel like singing, but you’d be real surprised at the work it’s done lately. plus.. it’s a singing BOOGER. That’s got to count for something, right? I mean.. no one wants to LOOK at a booger… ” {trails off apologetically}

So it’s a good thing that I have a husband (you know, for the Marketable Skills – plus, his accent, although dwindling, amuses me), but other musicians in Austin are not so lucky and must do things like sling coffee, or secretarial skills, or their boobs, or computer skills (sling ’em if you’ve got em!) around.

I used to sling cigars, but that got to be complex for many reasons. Also husband enjoys cigars and having his wife sell them to him in his place of leisure is sorta lame. It rocked though. As much as jobs that aren’t me writing or playing music do and can.

Because the people were interesting, and I have no interest in staying at home, waiting for the next Hallmark Holliday to roll around so I can get my kiss from K.

Anyway, back to hallmark.

My marriage is good, and fun, and has lots of Perks that are not just about being able to not toss and turn wondering where the next two squares of ramen are coming from. But there are things that are not so much fun. We have to deal with:
1. I get sick a lot
2. being very private people and the joys and sometimes scrutinies this brings/has brought to our relationships
3. the inequity of having a marriage where one person feels completely and totally financially superfluous- because it’s true
4. hearing THAT PHRASE

“ooooooo … must be nice…”

The phrase “must be nice” could actually be collectively applied to everyone who lives here – from shore to shore. Actually, I’m not even really sure if that’s true. If you are currently reading this and you have a knife at your throat and are being raped… first of all, what the hell? Why are you reading my blog at a time like this? I never knew I had such a dedicated reader! I REALLY DO need to stop all this bitching! Is there anything I can do to help YOU!?

So it’s all relative, really, to the people in the other countries I forgot to mention because I was distracted by my hypothetical almost-maybe-rape-victim-reader who I don’t know how to help because I am too busy complaining about my problems. (that was horrible. but you get my point here… apologies for my bluntness.
I’m having First World Problems.)

Now. Comparing.

We have a RIGHT to complain about our problems. I’m sorry, but we do. Anytime we feel bad or scared or cold or depressed – I’m sorry folks, but that’s real.

We used to attend a church and we went and did some missonary work. For three months our lives became completely simplified (so we thought, that is another story). We had only what we carried with us in backpacks. We started to leave STUFF behind and give things away. There was very little bathing and eating dwindled down to a thing you did to get energy. Good yummy tastes were really poignant. A blessing.

This was before 9/11, so no one was looking at Americans with open hostility. I felt, loved. Cherished. My sister-in-law and a close guy friend of mine went to Egypt while my husband and another guy went to Jordan and while we were there in a weird part of town .. I felt something. I felt this curiosity. From one person.

I did not discuss this with anyone. There was a language barrier. But I felt as though there was this KNOWING that our lives were very complicated. That we had a bunch of CRAP to sort through. That where life was simpler, life could be lived more simply. And I don’t know much, but I know that things are CERTAINLY not that way in America.

I am not going to go into that thing where I start in on us and get on my soapbox about our pills and our therapists. I think every society should have access to medical care and doctors and professionals.

WARNING: This is rated PG-13 to R for language, but is a FANTASTIC video… and has a GREAT message.

Back to the concept though. Of these “First World Problems”

No. Life is not always nice. My week has not been fine. My LIFE has not been fine. It’s been circumstantially blessed though. And this I know. I have lost quite a bit in the last year or two, and a whole lot in the last four years – but many people go through these hits, it’s part of life. Humans the world over grieve. My cousin works in the medical field and she was talking about some of the devastating things that she sees. Yes. This did inspire me to be better.

But dying women think of chocolate and coffee. And dying men talk about loves lost and found. And all you can do is connect with people and be on the same side.

A good friend of mine that I respect and for all practical purposes, it’s look like I’ve blown him off for other things – wrote a song. He’s written several amazing songs. But this is one of my top two favorites. It’s actually CALLED ‘First World Problems.’

I owe him a Watermelon Video. I haven’t forgotten. That’s not a first world problem, but it’s a first world solution.

That, and some lists, and a better attitude and a good honest assessment of my real human problems – with some time to grieve them as I do my work and shy from wallowing; is a start.

Thanks Travis.

“don’t mean to sound ungrateful
Everyone will need to forgive me
But do we ever stop merely surviving
And actually start living…

Start living.”

-from ‘First World Problems’ Governing Dynamics

(the cartoon is from Gary Larsen’s ‘Far Side’ comic series; and was copied from a blog. It is most likely NOT in the public domain, so I encourage you to go to your bookstore or amazon or someplace like that and buy as many books by this artist as you possibly can because he is a genius.)

“House Cleaning” list.

I hate…

1. questions
2. uncertainty
3. that I can’t just have a full 24 hour period of calm, restful assurance that it’s all just… cool.
4. drama and innuendo.
5. when you know something smells fishy but you can’t quite put your finger on it.
6. having other people’s stuff in your closet, and not knowing what it means or whether or not to keep it, or take it to goodwill.
7. cord clutter
8. paranoia
9. sneak attacks
10. lies and/or nebulous uncertainties about my future.

“I wanna say it / cuz it so obviously needs saying
but you don’t wanna hear it
so oh yah… well sure, see ya later..”

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Another Cool Find

We have been cleaning our rooms and packing. Mike found in his room.

– The coolest pen of all time
-My watch which has been lost for like THREE YEARS
– the necklace I’m wearing
Another few things
-a postcard of Donald Roller Wilson‘s Mrs. Jenkin’s Late Night Dinner in Her Room Alone (While Out in the Hall Leading to Her Room, Her Small Friends Were Sleeping)

-some lyrics I wrote in 1997 or 1998:
(I’m slightly embarassed, but I’m going to type them anyway…)

Shimmying down the drainpipe
of your consciousness
Slipping out the back window
of your skewed mentality
Licking shrimp sauce from
the fingers of your innocence
This is a song about me

Well I went back down to
high school last night
Remembering that future
trip across the sea
This ain’t Euro Disney,
an opera, or a roller coaster
And I’m only gonna be what I will be

And I don’t give a rat’s ass
about the government
And they return the sentiment to me
They would illuminatti me
into oblivion
And gladly watch me bleed

Glass House

This is a poem I wrote a while-while back…
It’s loud and I need to think for a while. For a while I shall do family things. And I will probably write a song, just for me.
I’m tired of the noisy-noiseMcnoise. It’s too much stimulation. “I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way.” (JK)

People living comfortably
under their little glass ceilings
will never leave their houses;
that’s what you’ve got me feeling.
I’ll never leave; you’ve got me boxed in
– oh yes im trapped in 
your encampment, basically.

Fact o’ the matter?
it’s a glass roof that won’t shatter with the hardest stone
I was almost okay with who i had become
But i know i am am not chosen because i’m standing awkward; and i’m kind of funny to point at
when they don’t wanna blame the folks at home.

You’ve won of course
My breathing has flown far
It’s sucked life from the earth under my feet
My resolve has become this
hot little acorn of hidden hatred
I nuture inside me

You’ve won both battle and war
Can I find a way to rebuild my country?
make the poor eat again
make the summer turn to fall and the good things grow ..?
Well that’s debatable

The bible blames cain
and the cains will blame eve
and eve blames the snake
and the snake blames her mate 
the one with his thumbs in the pie
on the decorative plate
rummaging round for the fruits
the fruits, the fruits
which should never’ve been baked

Did you know about this
when I asked you to dance?
when I asked for your hat?
were you sizin’ it up?
Did you know about that?

Writing songs of kings and queens
to people who think they’re royalty
I think –
Who does these things? These thnigs you do …
Who cares?! You aren’t listening.
Ten or twenty songs and thirty dances humble pie and thirty blackbirds –
1 awful week and; 
at the 11th hour
no one’s paying me 
to think. I think you’re missing 
a few screws 
that would tell you 
who you used to be –
Who does these things? These things you do …
Unspeakable embarassing things; things the bourgeois princesses and princes of some creepy monarchy would do
Who does these things? These things you do; you do
these things so casually, like I’m part of something …
A king that’s coming on the wings of glory – yeah he’s often painted up to look like you.
If you were me you would leave forever, too.


Nur Ein!

These are the lyrics to my Nur Ein song for Round Three, which features Alyssa Day who I know from DFTBA / TMA (tma is moving to the DFTBA forum-thingys). Nur Ein has it’s home on the Song Fight Forums


Is it done / just a dream
Under moon, stars or sun
Could you be anything?
Could I be anyone … anything

You don’t know anything
I guard my dreams silently …

You don’t know what I’m going through
And I guard them jealously
You don’t know
What I’m going through

(You don’t know why …….. I try …. and why … I lie……)
And I can’t tell you why … I try / And why I lie

*Thirteen years
A long time to fall
in ’97
When you’re heaven bound
And you look around ….
At the long way down ….
All around
a long way down
*Sometimes I look around
You’re not there on the ground
And it’s so far to fall
so far down
so far down

*You don’t know anything
I guard my dreams silently
jealously …

Is it done
Could you be anyone?

Stranded 2

Now that I have established that I love myself, I’m going to go ahead and say that

I LOVE NUR EIN … and I LOVE THESE PEOPE and I think I’m going to have a REALLY good time if I can pull myself together enough to really participate. Most of this has been due to distractions and my schedule. This week I wrote what could be a really good song with some awesome angsty emotions behind it which I re-channeled into a fun little -fantasystoryconcept which was a great job. But I’m going to give a critique now. But first, a list.

1. The previous entry was written so that I could continue to insult myself in freedom and impunity like any other good american. (tongue-in-cheek)
2. The previous link I gave for my nur ein stuff wasn’t right. Here is the proper link for the blog entry
3. By the way … what I am hearing is that most of the folks REALLY know how to set up a mix. So I’m going to learn a LOT from this, which I am SUPER stoked about. There was a lot of really good song-training and deadline and networking stuff in Fu/TMA … but I think I’m going to get REALLY on the ball from these Song Fight/Nur Ein folks.
4. In closing of list 1, it is REALLY tough to FULLY enjoy these when some fool is cutting down trees with a power saw outside of the LOUDEST STUDIO IN AUSTIN and there is some weird-assed bird CAW-CAWing outside my window. *sheesh*

So, without further ado:

1. I need to recut the vocal track using a frickkin pop filter.
2. I need to take the time to design a REALLY good eq for myself for different situations
3. Same goes for different reverbs.
4. I could have spent more time on the pianos
5. I went a little over the top on the accessory keyboards
6. The lyrics were a bit all over the place. I think this would have been tightened up with another take. In the absence of that, I could have run the pitch things on the tips of some of the words and it woulda been fine – sounding more deliberate. This happened in my SongFu 6/Round 1 song ‘Rain‘ a little bit, which was a similar sort of song.
7. My piano chords were good though, so it would have benefitted from being played more smoothly. There were some jumpy transitions in the chorus, which I repeated thankfully from chorus-to-chorus. At least I sounded like I meant to do it that way.
8. The structure is a bit arbitrary, but I made it work.
9. I’m not really singing to the best of my ability, and am a bit warbly. I dunno. I wasn’t comfy with my voice that day. I haven’t been feeling the sexy lately … I’ll get it back sometime soon – you mark my words 🙂

QUOTES FROM FAVORITE LYRICS THUSLY FAR (the ones that spring to mind, from Billy’s Little Trip)
“Give me peace love and rock
sex love and BBQ …
I’m just a simple guy
I’m stranded
trying to swim back to shore while caught in the undertow”


This is my LAST MINUTE Nur Ein entry. The challenge was ‘Whispering,’ which I did … plus I mentioned whispering as well. The title was Stranded. I wrote it about being left at a space station by some jerk.


It’s at the Nur Ein, website and I’m DJ Ranger Den.


Slide over here
you look like not going anywhere for a while
It’s an understatement that it’s cold in space
Besides your smile reminds me of the way
he used to smile
at me

You know I stare at the stars to pass the time
I try to hitch rides
Maybe work my way back to earth to
divert the attention from the situation of mine
I bide my time, station-side
well I need a little distraction
From this heartbreak, plan my revenge games
let me whisper a little irony in your ear


I’m stranded / you left me stranded
All alone at the edge of space and disaster
you severed the wormhole that tied us together
put so many lightyears between you and me and forever
Now I’m stranded … I’m stranded in time
… and space
and time

Remember I didn’t even wanna come here
I like the earth on my feet, I like the breeze whispering
I like the water rushing under me
It’s out here that I feel like I’m drowning
In a sea of uncertainty
and I’m not where I want to be

Remember that night, when you lied
were you just passing through while I planning our lives
what’s the hell’s the matter with you?

You know I’ve waited for you … for many triple moons
You don’t even remember what that means, do you?
I wish you could see how it’s been
here at the end of the universe waiting at some restaurant
staring at a check that’s never ever gonna get picked up
while you blast off,
by yourself … with who-knows-what
into oblivion!

CH …
While I’m stranded

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.