So You Think That’s a Risk? Writing Songs from your Emotions

Risk Taking is Relative to Your Level of Comfort

Up late last night; up late this morning

The other day I had a conversation with my wife, Cherie, and my daughter, Shannon, about those who tout risk-taking–for them not having roots, not being tied to a corporation or job site, living out of a suitcase and from hotel room to hotel room.  It seems they claim it is the way of the new 21st Century, and how one should be if one is to truly live to one’s fullest.  I am trying to think of a polite way of saying they are soooooo full of shit!  I want to say, “So you think that’s a risk? I wonder if you have ever had to take an actual risk, or would recognize a true risk if it came up and put a gun up your nose?”  Try loading your SUV after a gig in an empty alley, at 2am in a strange town, or even getting on stage after an act that is better than you think you are, and in front of a crowd that believes you are right.  Or…

I know a man who will take great chances with his life–technical rock climbing, skydiving, too-fast driving, he’s been in fire-fights, and more.  He thinks that he is a risk taker.  He thinks that he lives on the edge of life and that he pushes the envelop when it comes to risk taking.  He’s wrong.  He once came to me about his nineteen-year old son with whom he was having a serious problem with communication.

I said, “Does your son know that you love him?”

He said, “I’m sure he does.”

I said, “How long has it been since you hugged him and said, ‘I love you’ to him?”

He said, “I don’t do that.”

I said, “Why don’t you tell him you love him and give him a hug the next time you seem?”

He kind of hung his head and said, “No, I wouldn’t be able to do that.”

There are things that take more bravery than a fire-fight or technical rock climbing.  I love these young Turks who brag about living on the edge, but almost mess their pants just to think about sharing an emotion with a loved one–or actually having an emotion.  They aren’t brave, they’re just wounded.

It is sad to consider all the love that is lost between men.  I watch my son with his son and I feel pride well up in my chest as he shares his love and affection.  I truly wish I had that experience with my own father, and that I had been able to do more of that with my son.  Yet, I do it now.  My father never figured it out.  Many young men seem to have figured it out; many have not.  I am sorry for their loss.

In terms of risk and songwriting, getting into an emotion that dances with issues that are close to one’s heart, is probably one of the greatest risks.  I do not write these all the time, but I do have some that are simply raw with emotion.  I sing them from time to time and they go over really well.  But they never get easy to perform.

“The Infusion Lab” is about sitting with Cherie as she got chemo both for breast cancer, and then for ovarian cancer, and looking around the room and observing that we were not alone with either our fear or our pain.

THE INFUSION LAB
Copyright Hilary F. Marckx, BMI, all rights reserved

They Come and They Go; They Laugh and They Pray
Some Have Met Their Demons; Some Just Hide Away.
There’s Hope in the Air, There’s Also Despair;
And What They Have in Common Is the Poison They Share.

CHORUS:

In the Infusion Lab; in the Infusion Lab
Takin’ in Death One Drop at a Time
Lookin’ for a Way Just to Stay Alive
in the Infusion Lab; in the Infusion Lab
in the Infusion Lab; in the Infusion Lab

There’s an Old Man Sittin’ in a Chair All Alone;
And a Very Young Daddy with His Wife and His Son.
There’s a Middle Aged Doctor Who Shivers in Her Chair.
And What They Have in Common Is the Poison They Share.

Me and My Sweetie Went to Do Our Time
We Were Both Really Scared, Actin’ like We Were Fine
We Saw Brave People, Felt Fear in the Air
Seems We Had More in Common than the Poison We Shared.

“Sometimes” was written just after I had three stents put in my heart and I had just had to come to grips with my mortality. It is still hard for me to sing, but it is still very much real.

SOMETIMES
Copyright Hilary F. Marckx, BMI, all rights reserved

Sometimes I Wish There Were Choices I Could Make Again
Sometimes I Wish There Were Choices I Could Make Again
Sometimes I Wish There Were Choices I Could Make Again
I Would Make Some Changes, Some Things I’d Do All over Again
I Would Make Some Changes, Some Things I’d Do All over Again

Sometimes There Are Times, I Wish My Life Was Brand New
Sometimes There Are Times, I Wish My Life Was Brand New
Sometimes There Are Times, I Wish My Life Was Brand New
And I Could Taste Again the First Loves When Even Breath Seem to Be New
And I Could Taste Again the First Loves When Even Breath Seem to Be New

Sometimes I Wonder Why I Have Lived and Others Not at All
Sometimes I Wonder Why I Have Lived and Others Not at All
Sometimes I Wonder Why I Have Lived and Others Not at All
So I Take the Gift and Do My Best with What I Know as All.
So I Take the Gift and Do My Best with What I Know as All.

It seems that there are risks and there are risks.  Just because someone does something that is risky for some, doesn’t mean it is risky.  I think that f it is within out comfort zone, it is not a risk.

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2 thoughts on “So You Think That’s a Risk? Writing Songs from your Emotions

  1. I think personalising your material is essential to enabling the truth to come out. For me, art should not be made as a pleasure garden for the senses or for mechanic entertainment, it should be directed towards the search for truth, and the only truth is in the personal.

    Shameless self-promotion: http://pianoplonker.wordpress.com/

    This is one of mine, to illustrate what I mean. It was so perfect when I wrote it that I have not allowed myself to edit it in any way. What you see is the raw material.

    Wait Forever

    Primera Vista in the quiet King’s Arms
    Resting your elbows for the quickening sun
    Exposure, angles, six hours pass
    Ripples of river in the willow’s hold
    Veils of hair are shuttering the sun
    Press your smile to the back of the seat

    Flying curls on London Bridge
    Hands on hips amongst the art
    At waterside, we chase the day
    The queen’s in sight, yet we still lay
    Below night and leaves, our lips do touch
    This calendar still smells of you

    Shadows on the Cambridge ground
    Through heat and haze, we turn the key
    Your pillowed hair and twisted lips
    Your tender muscles, knotted so
    We’re thrown together parallel
    The gondolas pass below our love

    Twinkling night and endless rail
    Our lips do meet, the ice does melt
    Tortilla’d eggs and refried beans
    Hooded lovers on the hill
    Never break this perfect sheen
    Your sliver of face behind a chair

    Broken bracelet left behind
    Pauses in your tinny voice
    The phone shuts off like a closing door
    Silhouettes up on the hill
    It’ll never be so good again
    The ocean waits, and I will too

  2. It all boils down to whether or not you felt entitlement within the creative process, and that you deserved the gift, or whether you felt as if you were just handed something for which you were grateful.

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