On the writing of songs.

May 12, 2012 | Music, Songs | 2 comments

Somewhere, buried among piles of old letters, photos and various momentos are a number of songs I wrote a great many years ago.  I seem to recall that quite a few of them were part of my personal guitar-based singer-songwriter persona.  Way back when.  And today I don’t remember a single one of them.
I wonder if they were any good.

Maybe I should dig them out and try playing them.  I still know how to play the guitar a bit, though for years it’s been a rare event.  I like playing the guitar.  I’ve always liked playing the guitar.  It’s a mystery why I’ve lost the… what is it? Habit? Urge? Desire? Something went away that was present when I was younger,
and I don’t know what it was.

A friend posed the question a few weeks ago: “Why did I stop listening to music”. The question applied to me too.  I remember my being bemused by my father listening to talk radio when I was  teenager.  In those days music was important to me.  I couldn’t imagine wanting to hear somebody spouting off on the radio when it was possible to listen to music.  It was the 60s and things were happening in music. Things were happening everywhere; change was in the air, magic seemed possible and it was all reflected in the music.  So I thought.  It sometimes seemed that the music was driving the change, that music was the fire and the lubrication for a generation.
So why would anyone want to listen to talk?

That was then.  Now I listen to podcasts.  All talk.  Some brilliant talk, but very little music.  When given a choice I’ll listen to spoken ideas rather than musical ideas.  While I’m sure that the relationship of music to everything else has changed and evolved over the years, I don’t think that has anything to do with the change in my relationship to music.  It just changed. It got less important.  I don’t know how or why that happened, but it did.

It wasn’t inevitable.  I know people my age who never lost their connection.  But there aren’t too many of them.  Could it be that music is something that touches the mind and spirit of adolescence more strongly than it does later in life.  At least for most people.  Could it be that a developing personhood is able to find more meaning and touch a deeper resonance than us boring old farts tend to.  Who knows.

While I was thinking of writing this I got up and played the guitar for an hour.  After thinking about it for many years I finally got myself a guitar stand and it now sits proudly in the living room.  It’s harder to avoid than it was when it was closed up in its case, but that hasn’t stopped me from avoiding it most of the time.  I played around with chords and imagined writing a song.  I made up the start of a bunch of melodies, but didn’t come up with any words.  But I thought maybe I could write a song again if I wanted.  In fact I could feel how easy that would be to do.  It wouldn’t have to be a good song; just a song.  It occurred to me that I’ve written a few posts on this pointless blog even though I didn’t know what I wanted to say.  Perhaps I could write a song or two even thought I don’t know what I want to write about.

I think that might be more interesting than digging out songs I wrote 40 years ago to see if they were any good.

If I do I’ll stick them here.  I know how bad lyrics can be without music behind them.  Maybe I’ll record something and put it on this blog.  Maybe I’ll come up with a song that will become the fire and lubrication for this blog.

You never know.