Monday, June 22, 2009

The Evolution of the Disclaimer (thoughts on songwriting)

I’ve found that there are many evolutions of a songwriter. This is especially true for co-writing. For example, there is the evolution of the disclaimer.

When one first starts co-writing they will often have ideas that will filter though the different rooms in their mind... and when almost to the entryway...almost ready to edge out of ones lips... the realization hits that this is in fact, a bad idea. It’s too cheesy, It’s been done.

Did I really just rhyme heart with start? Grace with place? Whoo, I’m glad I filtered that before they thought I was a bad writer. close call...

After awhile when one gets stuck in a certain writing session it will come to pass that some of those thoughts are let loose. The thought of not contributing any ideas at all becomes unbearable and there is no stopping the "bad" ones. However, this is where the disclaimer comes in. Before the horrible, no good, very bad, idea sees the light of day, you will hear things like:

“now this is probably a horrible idea but...”
“okay, I'm just gonna throw this out there...”
“I know this sounds cheesy, but what about...”

It’s inevitable. Find me a songwriter than has not used the disclaimer. Find me a human.

I have a friend that I recently saw for the first time in months. We were good friends growing up and now only see each other over the holidays if we’re lucky. She is almost opposite of me. She looks great in heels and earrings and button up shirts and her hair is always done. I, on the other hand, wear the same pair of shoes with every outfit, and I’m lucky if I remember to brush my hair in the mornings. She works a real 9 to 5 job with a salary and coworkers and staff meetings. I couldn’t even begin to describe my job to you but it wouldn’t sound anything like that. On the outside she is much more put together than me. However, seeing her the other night reminded me how easy she is to be around, how simply enjoyable she is. I walked away feeling quite good about myself. And the reason is because she is confident. Which in turn, made me confident. I’m sure she has, but I can’t remember a time when I heard her use a disclaimer. She is who she is and she loves the people around her for who they are, differences and all. It’s refreshing.

I really think that songwriters are notoriously insecure. Maybe creative types in general. It’s hard to put something together with the materials you have available and then reveal it to someone else. Because what if they see through the half written verse and realize that I am in fact, void of substance. Void of anything worthwhile to say. This is the voice every creative person must fight off. This thought process only leads to disaster. We must revert back to kindergarten where “no question is a bad question.”

It seems even the best ones have their set backs, but in the evolution of a songwriter, one arrives at a place where idea after idea gets freely tossed into the pile of words and melodies in the middle of the room without any disclaimers. Warts and all. There is little room for filters in co-writing. The truth is, when someone's bad idea is combined with someone else's bad idea, the result can be a very good idea, or at least an organized bad idea that leads to a good idea. Because although I do think there are bad ones (and I have come up with mounds of them) ...a songwriter must go into a writing session with the thought that in fact, “no idea is a bad idea”. A confident vulnerability is crucial to a successful co-writing experience. Insecurity is a waste of time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Still here...if only in part

Being James' mother has given me more pride and more humility than I've ever had. It's a new exhaustion and a new energy, I am settling down and speeding up. I seem to be pulled in very conflicting directions at all hours of the day and I have a new appreciation for pretty much everybody.

The one thing that seems to be continuously moving forward is my heart as I love this little boy more more every day. I promise I'm trying to write more. I have so much I want to write about but as new moms all seem to know, my brain works differently now and the minute my thoughts start to move a direction I would like to follow (that might lead to a song or blog post) another thought trail begins, or James wakes up from his nap, or the laundry beeps, or I'm late for an appointment, or I realize I haven't eaten lunch and am about to fall over. :) I also promise this won't turn into a mom blog, but for now it's all I can think about. Here are some pictures of the last month.

Flying to Iowa for a show

Happy Face!

Sad Face :(

Sweet sweet little boy :)