Sunday, July 30, 2006

I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song...

I write songs. In my mind, not on paper. Little cheesy, schmaltzy, strange ones. No really. I have this propensity for making up really dumb songs about anything and everything that might be going on in my mind at any given moment. They're not particularly good, mostly, since I can't read or write a lick of music. Actually, they're more than likely, terrible. Did I mention that they're schmaltzy. I think I did. Anyway, I find it to be a therapeutic way to release things out of my head and heart. Oh, and then I sing them. To myself.

For instance, tonight as I was leaving my ex-wife's house after dropping off my boys, I started singing a song I'll call "If You Only Knew". I sing a different variation of it almost every time I drive away. "Whether heading east or west it matters not to me, a road that winds the least is best because it brings you straight to me..." or something like, "Even when the sky is clear my heart's a deeper blue, whenever I turn from here and drive away from you..." or, "In the windshield I love the distance, when I see you waiting in it. In the mirror I hate the distance, when I see you fading in it." I don't know that I'll ever sing these songs in front of another person (just writing them here is difficult) but, I do want my kids to know that this is a part of who I am. I mean, I'm all grown up and doing fine and I'm not a walking basket case, but there are parts of every day that make me miss them. So at the behest of several of my friends and family members I'm going to start journaling these things. Here are my questions to you: If and when you journal, how do you do it? Who are you addressing? What is your goal? (ie: future reference, creative release, mental excercise, etc.) If you don't journal, why not?

You know me. Simply curious. Or should that be...curiously simple?


Tar Heel Tom said...

John, from what I've read here, maybe you should be a song writer. Very good lyrics. Now can you get that to fit into a Uhmpa pa kinda beat? Just kidding.
Seems to me your journaling right now with this blog. Maybe you just need to really write down your songs & take them to completion. Not just a verse or 2 but a whole complete song. I don't know, maybe you do that now. Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth. Probably wasn't worth that much!

work in progress said...

I've found that there are no rules to journaling. Sometimes I do it as a release (kind of a vent that doesn't need to be unleashed on another human being), sometimes it's because something interesting pops into my head, and if I don't write it down it will be lost forever, sometimes I write things down so that I can really remember what I felt like in the moment, as recalling some emotions isn't easy.

I don't always journal. Sometimes I'm too lazy. Sometimes I can't get the words onto paper fast enough-my hand doesn't work as fast as my brain. I try not to make journaling a chore. Sometimes I write letters that I will never send, and I call that journaling.

And, btw, I think songwriters are modern-day poets. (Not all song writers-just the good ones like; Bruce Springsteen, Tori Amos, James Taylor ;-) etc.) Just because you're not a published songwriter doesn't mean you're not a poet.

Write however you want to. Write for you. That's the trick.

freeman said...

...or are you simply both?

Some of the best lyricists are terrible singers, lousy songwriters. Some singers and perfomers couldn't write a decent lyric if their life depended on it. The shmaltzy (is that a protestant beer in Wisconsin or somethin?) words you've written? They're awesome. Great imagery. Good balance. Thanks to our upbringing - having two languages spoken in the house, understanding them both and responding in either - we've always focused on nuance, subtlety and double meanings (I'd say ontondra if I could spell it!). That's often thought of by us as one of those "so what's" of life but it's really a treasure. Being able to put meaning into words or add something to them is not an everyday skill. Look around. It doesn't take genius to see how much language is buchered theeyse daze.

I'm just guessing...nah, I've got a pretty good gut feeling...that you were tapping on my shoulder when you started asking that 'why journal' question or three. That's cuz you know that I've done it off and on now for...38 years! Holy cow, he says to himself.

I wrote for different reasons at 17 than I do at 54. I kept silent for months at a time, then went crazy for weeks on end. Why journal? I'll put the reasons in another comment cuz there's several that make sense to me. With some luck, I'll have communicated enough to give you a sense of why I consider it one of the best therapies around.

freeman said...

Some reasons I've kept a journal:
1) to simply remember things.
2) to recall the 'reasons' I did things.
3) to put my emotions into words.
4) to review the emotional words after the event to gain perspective on how accurate or misguided my perspective was.
5) to express myself. Words come easier written than said. Writing thoughts, whether just as they flow through my mind or with some thought and logic, gives me a chance to identify more clearly what I thought I was / am feeling.
6) to invite someone into places of my soul that might not be easily accessed or readily talked about in the past tense.
7) to see if I simply repeat my emotions and battles through the years (yes, I do).
8) to add a sense of continuity to my life. I can recall many things thanks to words written in pain, distress, wanderlust, love or curiousity.
9) to give my daughter insight into her old man with words she wouldn't otherwise hear / see / ask about. I hope she saves them after I'm gone.
10) to think through problems.
11) to laugh at myself.
12) to wonder about roads not taken.
13) to wonder about roads traveled.
14) to inspire myself to continue traveling.

There's a few of the reasons. I only wish I could take more time writing what goes on inside my head. You, given the last few entries into the blog, seem to have begun doing that. Keep it up: the 3 J's will reap benefits from it.


Anonymous said...

Stick with Petes reasons. They are grand. My two sence....

1. They will be read by others. One day you may not be able to control who reads them. If you mention names be wise. History proves what we see now may not be how we wish we had written about it later. Give others the benifit of some doubt. They will appreciate it and one day you will be glad you were gracious. (if you mention names.)
2. Send off some lyrics to Nashville. Finish a song or two and send it in.
2. Mention me only in

Anonymous said...

oops. That was mention me in the highest terms even if it requires adjusting reality. Pete is in on this too because I like him. Mark

work in progress said...

HEY! There's a post missing! Still feeling sad? Feeling happy? If you're happy, why? If you're sad I'll just leave you to it. Happy will come again.