Being a songwriter can be fun and it can also be painful. To go through life seeing everything that passes as a potential song is both a blessing and a curse. If you’re a songwriter (or a writer of any kind) you know exactly what I’m talking about but if you’re not, allow me to elaborate. I go through life, day after day, looking at everything like it could be a potential song. A pretty, lonely girl eating lunch by herself, a woman crying behind her steering wheel at a red light, a man who you can tell is trying to so hard to be something he’s not, someone who’s lost a dear friend to cancer. All of these things are things that I have seen just in the last few months or so. To some they are mere observations but to me they are stories that need to be told. While they aren’t “my” stories, these are all things that I am able to connect with; to put my own self into their characters and to portray their situations. The blessing is the ability to see people and see the world through a different set of shades than most. The curse is when those stories stay trapped in my mind and just don’t want to manifest to the written word.
It’s tapping into that inspiration and letting the song flow that can be hard. To force a song to just come out is a painful thing. When I force a song to come out, not only can I tell but my bandmates can tell and a lot of times the listener can tell. There’s a lack on sincerity, a lack of feel, and lack of connection that can be blatantly obvious to the reader/listener. I struggle with this because sometimes these songs, these ideas, can haunt me. They live in the attic of my mind making noise, stomping, crying, laughing, just wanting to get out and reveal themselves to the world. I look at these stories and while part of me wants to rush them out of my head, another part of me has to remember: these are not my stories. If I truly want to honor the stories and lives of these people and these instances that have inspired me and taken harbor in my mind, I have to give them the same level of respect that I would give to a song that is directly about me or some instance of my own personal life. Does this make sense? Are you still reading this? If so, wow. Thanks for hanging in there. Anyways, why am I writing all of this shit? Well, because those ghosts in the attic are wanting to come out and I’m just not ready to let them out yet. To address them in this fashion seems to quiet them a bit and give them a bit of solace knowing that they are not just locked away forever to be forgotten.