I spend too much time looking at flat screens. Whether they belong to a lap top, a desk top, a recording device, a camera back, a cell phone, it seems that’s what I do. I have two actual paper journals I write in. One is in my truck, the other is in my big, black wallet (man purse). I use them to write down song ideas and fragments when I am out and about.
I also carry around a Martin Backpacker, so if I am out and have time I can work out chords for the songs I write. My computer’s song file tells me I have only written four songs this year, but my paper journals tell me that the number is much higher.
My songwriting ability is higher than my songwriting time. I try to make strategies that work for my time-frame. In 2007, when My wife, Cherie, went in for her second round of cancer treatments in two years, I sat with her while she went through chemo. I looked around at the others sitting in their big chemo-chairs, and started to write about my observations.
They come and they go
they laugh and they pray
some have met their demons
some just hide a way
there’s hope in the air
there’s also despair
but that they have in common
is the poison they share
There’s more to it, and I’ve performed it a few times and it seems to go over really well. The problem is that I find it a hard song for me to sing. I choke on the words a little. I mean, Cherie is OK, but breast cancer in 2005, and then ovarian cancer in 2007 has left me a little weird about it.
Sometimes, I just let something I’ve read in a book, or watched on TV wallow around in my brain until something rises up and demands my attention. Like a scene in Laurence Block‘s, Small Town, and I wrote:
He liked ’em hot
And she liked ’em caught
and tied to the posts of her bed…
Or, I wrote CSI Blues based on Cherie’s and my addiction to the series. The point is that I wrote them OFF SCREEN! I need to break away more often from all these flat screens and write more often with a pencil.