The problem with writing songs is that I don’t know how to write songs. I’m not trying to be cute. I really don’t. Nobody told me.
I’ve written songs before, sure, but I couldn’t really tell you how they happened. And I don’t want to get too fairies-and-moonbeams with you here, but honestly, they tended to just creep up on me.
Anyway, I got to Bank Street Arts at about half 10 this morning and Tom made me a coffee. I set up in a nice little corridor and got to work trying to get as much “stuff” onto sheets of paper as I could. That was my goal for the day. I filled 6 six sheets of A4 lyrics. I hated almost all of them. I can live with that.
Then I got my guitar out and I wrote a song called Hell In a Handbasket. It won’t make the cut when the album is all said and done, but you have to start somewhere.
It’s extremely frustrating to have no control over something you really want to have control over. Then again, it’s probably a very beneficial kind of a zen experience to go through.
But when I listen to Warren Zevon or Leonard Cohen, far from inspiring me, they anger me. They set the bar very high.
I’ll get over it.
The bitch with songwriting is that it’s all inside you. Somewhere. But where?
I’ve often thought of it (creativity) like a room that needs its windows cleaning. I want is to be able to just look through a clear glass window and see the music. But my windows are filthy and grimy and dirty and disgusting. How do I clean them, and allow the music to “just flow”? Well, that’s the thing — fuck knows.
I might not be sure, but I’m betting on sitting at a desk and cranking it out. I have to bet on something, so that’s what I’m betting on.
A writer cannot gauge the effectiveness of a method from the outside — he has to climb inside the method and get himself a little dirty and depressed and disillusioned and torn and frayed… and then one day he might find something that works for him. He can’t sit on the sidelines. That’s the only thing I know.
I don’t have a method yet. And maybe I never will. But in the end, I think that if you’re sitting at your desk trying, and cranking something, anything out, you’re encouraging the fairies and the moonbeams to come down and help give you a hand.