Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Shoulda Done My Taxes, But I Wrote a Song Instead

One of the reasons I started blogging was to give myself a regular outlet for writing. For several years now, I've had a monstrous pile of mental crapola that has been blocking my ability to write music. As a musician, that really sucks. The pressure has been mounting as the dry spell extended over three years, my notebooks filled with broken appendages of lyrics and chord progressions that I just couldn't bring myself to finish. I needed to break that spell, and blogging is one exercise I've been using to "write" myself out of my songwriting funk. Truth is, I really haven't worked that hard to break through; I haven't "made" myself finish a song, allowing it to be what it is. If I get to a point where I'm stuck or don't like where the song is heading, or if the song doesn't seem like it's bound to be a Top 40 hit, I abandon it and move on. I've revisited my creations on and off over the years, made some revisions, but no completions. Until this morning.

I should have worked on my taxes. Kailey was at school and Diane and Kyra left early to go to the zoo for Kyra's kindergarten field trip, so I had the house to myself. I had several hours to get a great start on our taxes, but seeing as how I have the gift of procrastination, I decided to pull out my guitar and diddle around instead. I played for a few minutes, messing around in E minor. It's always E minor these days. If I ever actually get around to recording a CD, I'm going to title it "Songs in Em". Suddenly and unexpectedly, my muse began to speak. I don't have a problem getting my muse to speak, it's just getting a complete thought out of her that sucks. I grabbed my notebook and began to write, the first verse seeming to flow from my pen.

"That's pretty good," commented my muse as she began to float away.

"Get back here and help me finish this thing!" I growled as I grabbed her by the throat.

"Hey, take it easy, Bub!" She likes to call me Bub. "You're strangling your muse!" I apologized for being so rough and explained to her my need to finish the song. She agreed, so we worked on it for a couple of hours until I was satisfied that it was a good stopping point. Like me, my muse is global and easily distracted, and she tried to flit away a couple of times, but I stuck to my guns and kept corraling her and urging her to keep working with me.

The song isn't truly finished. It still needs some tweaks here and there, but it's the most complete song I've written in a long time and I'm relieved. I put a lot of work into it and forced myself to keep at it, which I haven't been able (or willing) to do in quite a while. It's not going to be a Top 40 hit, and I'm OK with that. But I will finish it and I will record a demo of it. And hopefully this will open the door to more songs.

Now I've got to finish my frickin' taxes.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this your American Idol song? I semi-finished mine tonight. It's kinda cheezy and simplistic...so in other words perfect for American Idol. :-)

I still miss playing w/ you, man. Even if your voice always DID give me an inferiority complex. :-)

-Eric

the battered ham said...

Ummm...no. Not even close. The American Idol song is going to be tough, seeing as how everything I seem to write these days has more of a dark, sinister, glass totally empty feel. One of my friends from work has been going through some tough marriage stuff and my song, I believe, is very loosely based on that. Idol is going to be an interesting exercise for me, we'll see how it goes.

Thanks, I miss those days, too...especially giving you an inferiority complex!

The Beast Mom said...

hey BH,
I'm back from spring break and catching up in blogland.

Hope your scalp isn't red anymore. Will you do before and after thickening progress photos? Are your eyebrows affected from the dripping-onto-forehead problem? What if you just got thicker eyebrows?

-bm

the battered ham said...

It's a little too late for "before" photos since I now have no forehead. I guess the scalp treatment grew hair follicles in my forehead, and I now have a fine layer of hair from my eyebrows to my hairline. I look like the wolfman. And, yes, a lawsuit is pending.