DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND NINE
Okay, I went to a rehearsal last night with Matt Singer, whom you might remember from day 38. I told him of my lyric troubles and recent total word black out… I mean… it literally feels like someone turned the main switch off in the entire building, and everything is completely out. I can’t even spark to like the gas stove, you know? Like a I got a lobotomy in my sleep!
Matt suggested (along with several people, including myself) that I read. Now, true confessions: I don’t like to read. My mother loves to read. She reads 5 books a week, all at the same time, rotating and reading and reading and reading. I’m really not sure where my dislike of reading came… maybe after I graduated school? After I didn’t find I got a grade or had an assignment due after I finished it. I read a TON in high school and college. What happened? Now that there’s no academic payoff, I quit?! I really want to love to read. Reading helps you write better and think better… I get bored easily when reading, and I often think to myself, “I could be really doing something with my time right now, and here I am, just sitting here, reading.” I also lose focus easily in a book, daydreaming and often have to go back and reread entire paragraphs. I’m a fairly quick reader, so it’s not even a time issue. It’s really a mystery.
In any case, I love what Matt told me when he suggest I read: “You don’t have to read the books necessarily. Just look at the words. You need to at least be looking at words in order to write words.” He immediately sent me home with two books (which he disclaimered as saying, “These aren’t my favorite books, but the author’s writing is good.”). The funny thing is, just looking at the words makes me read the book, so I’m tricking myself into reading by looking at them. Maybe you’re thinking it’s kind of adolescent? Well, you gotta do what you gotta do right? If your kid won’t eat vegetables, isn’t it better to melt cheese on top?
I chose a book Matt lent me written by Cormac McCarthy. Matt and I discussed “stealing” words. I think, and Matt agrees, too, that most musicians “steal” (in the most legal of senses most of the time) from either writers or each other. I’ve even heard music teachers claim that all modern music today (ALL) came from Bach. That’s arguable, but an interesting thought nonetheless. In this case, I have taken words that aren’t mine to, hopefully, spark words that will be mine in a few days…
This song is an exercise for me. I picked a paragraph from McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian, First Vintage International Edition, May 1992. The challenge for me was in playing an unfamiliar instrument (the accordion) and at the same time making musical, writing which is unfamiliar to me, very unlike my own, and melodically not restraining myself to a “real song” structure (verse melody, chorus, bridge), but allowing it if it went there, too.
*I’ve gotten several questions recently about whether the 365 is all “real songs”. What in the crap does that mean? (I kind of feel like people who ask me that expect me to say “no” and I would then see a reaction of disappointment or something…like it would be less interesting because the 365 might not contain “real” songs.) I suppose we all have our own expectations for the 365; me included. It’s okay.
Recording: Hung the mic from a cabinet drawer, which I think is to blame for the room sound it’s getting. Recorded main vocal and accordion simultaneously in one take mainly improvising to get a good clean head space. Did a track of accompanying accordion and back up vocal.
Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy page 146- 147
The judge sat half naked and sweating for [the night was cold].
It strikes me, he said, that either son is equal in the way of disadvantage.
So what is they way of raising a child?
At a young age they should be put in a pit with wild dogs.
They should be set to puzzle out from their proper clues the one of three doors that does not harbor wild lions.
They should be made to run naked in the desert…
They should be made to run naked in the desert
They should be made to run naked in the desert until…
The question was put in all earnestness.
And the answer, said the judge.
If God meant to interfere in the degeneracy of mankind
Would he not have done so by now?
Would he not have done so by now?
The way of the world is to bloom and to flower and die
But in the affairs of men there is no waning
And the noon of this expression signals the onset of night.
His spirit is exhausted
at the peak of its achievement.
Let him play for stakes.
This you see here…
The judge sat half naked and sweating for [the night was cold.]