Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I write songs. Pretty much always have. Hundreds of 'em. It's what I do. And I was really young when I started. Somewhere around the 4th or 5th grade. I’d come up with ideas and I kept a notebook full of lyrics that I was working on. I would take two cassette recorders and record tracks by dubbing back and forth. I’d sing a melody line into one recorder, then play it back and record it on the second recorder while adding a harmony. Then I’d play that back and record again adding another harmony. Ad infinitum.

High tech. That’s how we rolled.

When asked why I write songs, I find it hard to explain. I’m tempted to say, “Why do you vomit?” It’s not very elegant, but it does make some sense. When you’re sick and your body wants to get it out, it gets it out. Just try and stop it. Well. That’s sort of what it’s like. Ideas and sounds start buzzing around the grey matter. They start to take over, falling like puzzle pieces into place. It’s like sporadic OCD. I can’t concentrate on other things while it’s in there, taking up space. I feel like, if I don’t get it out, my head might explode.

You could call this the George Romero philosophy of creativity.

Sometimes I think it’s a way of avoiding madness. Life crams so much into us all the time, if we don’t pour something back out, I think it can be crippling. In order to relieve the pressure we have to purge. For some people, tears are enough. Or laughter. For me it’s mostly songs and stories and good conversations about what makes for great coffee. For you it might be something else. At least I hope you have some form of expression. Working on cars. Painting. Needlepoint. Singing in the car while driving to work. Whatever. Everyone is different. Trust me, finding a way to express yourself in healthy ways is a lot better than exploding with anger or being addicted to drugs. Some forms of expression can kill you. Like Freddie Mercury said, given certain circumstances, even “too much love will kill you in the end.”

There's a man in the Bible who was hit with practically every bad thing that could happen to a person. His children died in a storm when the house they were in collapsed. He lost most of his possessions. His wife had given up on him. And so we get page after page of Job, expressing himself. He says, "So I won’t keep silent. I’ll speak out in the anguish of my soul. I’ll complain in the bitterness of my soul.”

He had to say something. I think he was just trying to stay alive.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2010

1 comment:

  1. i wish that i could write songs like that. i love music, but haven't an ounce of talent for it. i hardly have an expressive bone in my body. this is partly why i started a blog in the first place. the majority of problems in my life have either started or been made worse by lack of expression. there is no overstating its importance. so ROCK ON!


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