Trying to Remember

This is the song I was trying to write two weeks ago, which I referred to as a songwriting failure and declared that if a song doesn’t come together in one session it’s typically not worth going back to. I did go back to it for week 22 of #songaweek2018, and got myself this song.

It’s compiled of a variety of ideas I’d collected but was having trouble sculpting into a cohesive whole. Even though none of the ideas were directly inspired by the S-Town Podcast, I finished listening to it just before finishing this song, and that somehow gave me what I needed to pull it all together. Something about the tone of that story, the range of emotion, the brilliance and dull despair that can coexist in one person’s life, the bald facts of life’s brevity and its bewildering mix of beauty and brokenness.

The suggested theme was “celebrity.” I didn’t deliberately work with that theme but again, I think there’s something related here. For one thing, S-Town made John B. McLemore a celebrity, and it’s surreal and feels a little bit wrong when I Google his name and find it being sold on T-shirts now. Also I think most of the verses but especially the ones starting “what does it mean. . .” and “if you repeat. . .” do speak pretty directly to the culture of celebrity worship.

Some days I’m sick of everything
Can’t keep my head up, can’t want to try
Tired of hearing my own voice
Can’t find a reason to even cry

They come to me in fits and starts
These glimpses of my wild heart’s
Most sacred pledge
I’m trying to remember
What I am not supposed to forget

All I could say has been said before
What good is winning if it’s just a game?
I never could stomach spinning rides
But any other world is just the same

They come to me in fits and starts
These glimpses of my wild heart’s
Most sacred pledge
I’m trying to remember
What I am not supposed to forget

What does it mean to gain the world
And lose your own soul in the deal?
Why try to build the greater good
On lesser evils you’re too numb to feel?

I’m drinking elderberry wine
Out in the summer moonshine
with the ones I love
Some happy you can bottle
But most of life is best in the flesh

If you repeat and repeat a word
It’ll start to sound like gibberish
If you stare in the mirror long enough
You’ll start to look ridiculous

They come to me in fits and starts
These glimpses of my wild heart’s
Most sacred pledge
I’m trying to remember
I’m trying to remember
I’m trying to remember
What I am not supposed to forget

Way of the World

“A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away…to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing.” — The Empire Strikes Back

Probably restlessness is part of our human DNA, which is why our species has spread out and found ways to live all over the world. My problem is I have a hard time staying in one place for too long. Maybe restlessness is part of my personal DNA too.

And –

It’s been persistently gray and chilly here in Minnesota in March. I asked for this. I chose it, from my little sunny backyard with the mountain view, last year. It was a good choice, but this time of year in this place, it can be a hard one to live with.

This is the time of year when sadness inexplicably seeps into me. Or probably more truly, it seeps out of me – the weight I’ve been carrying surfaces and I must face it.

These were some ideas influencing me as I wrote this song for week twelve of #songaweek2018:

I don’t know why the river makes me cry
I left the west cause I was thirsty
after the years the desert drained me dry
it’s just the way of the world
just the way of the world
it’s the way of the world
in me

I don’t know how these clouds got in my eyes
I shunned the sun cause I was burning
Too much light can leave you hypnotized
It’s just the lay of the land
Just the lay of the land
It’s the lay of the land
I see
It’s just the way of the world
Just the way of the world
It’s the way of the world
and me

It’s just my heart on my sleeve
and my head in my hands
it’s the way of the world
with me
It’s just the way of the world
just the way of the world
It’s the way of the world
For me