Thursday, March 6, 2014

Or Maybe an Improved Version of How Songs Are Easy

How I Pass the Time, Or Maybe an Improved Version of How Songs Are Easy

At 28, I'm only starting to learn the things I needed to know at 17. How to sort of make a zine, how to silkscreen, how to write songs, how to not take any of it personally. I'm still not great at any of those callings, and I've never identified as an artist in any sense, though I do like the mythlore of being receptive to ideas and inspiration.

If I go for a stroll or a bike ride on Ashland, a miserable street for cycling and exhaust choked for walking, there's a passable opportunity to receive a song idea.

It starts by my whistling. I pair whistles with bits of phrasing I see, almost exclusively store slogans and grocery prices that have been painted on white butcher paper. A melody arrives and I record it onto my phone. I rush home and jangle it out onto guitar. I break into a sweat, play it over a few times. 

Outside people are dropping candy wrappers to the cement and waiting at red lights. They have no idea what's happening in my apartment. Incredible.

Four out of five instances my song's will have such a bad melody that I can actually hear my high school friends ridiculing it, "What're you gonna send these off to Walt Disney?" 

Etc. Then the occasional song will make it to Krayola practice. My accomplices, according to no grading system I can determine, will give it the pass or rejection slip. The rate of acceptability must parallel some sort of barometer. I can only knit my hands over my eyes and invoke the Lord's name many times until it's over and a new song comes.