I’m starting a blog! The idea is to give you a peek into my creative process, as well as the day to day life of being on tour, and all the beautiful silver linings and spirals of self doubt that go hand in hand with being somebody who likes making things and sharing them with people. I find a great deal of comfort and inspiration when I hear about how other people’s brains work, and I hope that this can provide a bit of that for you. Plus, I’m a word nerd, and writing is fun, so whether you guys are reading this or not, it’s an itch I gotta scratch.
I’ll start you off with a ramble I went on this last weekend about being a part-time hermit. In the last 48 hours I wrote 5 songs, and had very limited human interaction. It drove me nearly insane. This happens kind of a lot. Hope you dig it. Thanks for paying attention.
I spent the better part of the last two days inside, writing, which while very cathartic and productive, also tends to make me a little bit depressed. It’s not the actual writing part the does it, I don’t think. It’s the indoor isolation. The sinking into the couch, the sinking into the piano bench, the messed up patterns of sleep and food and night and day. The sedentary nature of it all really fucks with my head. I get lost in a jigsaw puzzle. After a while, the songs are all I can see. They infiltrate my dreams. I lose hours and days, staring at a pile of pieces scattered around me, getting high off the little adrenaline boosts that snap my mind awake every time I find something that fits.
I can’t not do it. They are my projects, and they are greatly satisfying. They give me a purpose, no matter how pointless they are. One task, and one task only. Sort of like meditating. Although, like Joni Mitchell said, songwriting is also a form of anti Buddhism, because you’re stirring and dissecting and editing. You’re not letting the clouds go by without judgement or attachment. You’re attaching to very specific clouds, wrapping ropes around them, and rearranging them in the sky to make an image that, in the end, no matter how you slice it, looks something or another like your own reflection.
At some point, I’ve written one too many songs. At some point, I get postpartum. I neglect my responsibilities to myself, and to my song children. I can’t take care of anything in the fog of that kind of obsession, which quickly turns to sadness.
That’s when I need to get out of it. Getting out of my house is the right first step. I finally pried myself away from that little corner of my living room where my pile of coats still sits, crumpled in the shape of my ass. And here I am, outside, drinking coffee, staring at strangers staring at me, picking at the flaccid rubber egg filet at the corner of a greasy white plate, trying not to keep my gaze on one single person for too long while my fingers tap tap away on the keyboard attachment of my iPad.
It’s almost like summer came back again, but without the humidity. Just the color of the sky. No, nope, I take it back. It isn’t about the color of the sky. The sky is a duller, whiter blue than the color of a summer sky. It must be the sound of the cars. The sound of the cars cutting through a warm sunny day. That sounds like summer to me. Summer is in the sounds, and summer is in the bugs. All the bugs think it’s summer. The lady bugs and the wasps all sprang to life around the outsides of my windows this morning. They slow down when it gets cold, like all the way down, until they die, or so I assume. They often make their way into my house when it’s cold out, because I blast the heat, and I see wasp zombies dragging themselves along the hardwood floor, and ladybugs lying belly up all over my bathroom. But yesterday and today, wings frantically flapped, and little black dots twitched and darted across the blue rectangle of sky that I could see from my piano. I wrote a song about it called Little Blessings. I hate the title, but I like the song, and I don’t know what else I could call it. Here’s the beginning:
Ladybugs flying around the door
Warming up their wings on the kitchen floor
Sun came out and the sky went blue
It was a beautiful afternoon
Felt like summer came back again
Walking around half naked in the wind
Butterflies flapping around the trees
Batting our lashes in the breeze
These little blessings seem
Fewer and farther between
Sometimes life gets mean
But these little blessings mean everything