Photo: Something's Burning in Lacona - P. Hartman, 2015
Progress. Acoustic tracked. Electric tracked. Drums tracked. Piano for 2 pieces tracked. More sessions booked. Pieces being cut, placed, and glued. Somewhere in here is a whole picture. I like it already.
Awkward things. Hearing my lyrics spoken like place keepers. "Start there where it says, 'Cut my lock. I'll weld a new one... Crash my wall. I'll build it up again.' You know, there. Right before, 'Don't ask me to explain and the Oooh Oooh's.'"
Songwriting is a funny thing to me. I don't know how to do it impersonally. And I don't know how to do it without cutting myself wide open. I'm not sure I could ever write songs for other people to sing. I think it would feel like letting someone else borrow all of my guts.
I had a moment sitting in my living room working out parts with Jenny (lead guitar) and Gavin (bass). As we played through a few songs sitting in a tight circle facing each other, I became hyper-aware of my lyrics. How intimate it is to share them sitting so closely to other people and without a microphone hiding my mouth. How dark and broody I get. How thoroughly lyrics detail the emotional wringing-out I do when I write anything at all. And I thought, well, the jig is up. I got junk in my spiritual trunk. No chipper sprite here. You've been had.
I have designs on this summer. Tour. But in my own not-too-far-from-home, mom-friendly kind of way. Never too far from my kid. Never gone for more than a couple of nights at a time. And as I'm looking toward the trajectory of whatever it is that I'm doing (which is anybody's guess), I realize I don't really know how to do it. Frankly, speaking.
I say that all the time: "I don't know what I'm doing!" Lots of people say this all the time. It's a wonder how anybody ever does anything at all, as clueless as we are. Look at all of these delightful accidents. But I don't. I don't know what I'm doing. I have an idea. A direction. And, I'm loafing accordingly. But ultimately, I'm scooting along in the dark.
I know that I crave growth. And as frightening as change is, as badly as it can hurt, I know it's the only way to grow and build and shift and learn. If there is any kind of consistent pulse in me, it is to that end: to grow and build and shift and learn. And when I feel myself stagnating, I have to change something. Sometimes the changes are small (e.g., a haircut). Sometimes the changes are giants (e.g., ending a marriage).
I don't want the music to stagnate, so I'm looking for ways to shift. It's hard to navigate a shift when you're trying to do a lot of other things at the same time (like parent and be a decent employee). The only solution I've come up with so far is to just make music. One song at a time. Try not to write a bunch of sucky shit. And if you do write sucky shit, scrap it and write something else.
I've been in a weird place lately. Feeling far. I think it's my day job as a school psych. My all-the-time job as a mom. Responsibility-itis. The wild thing inside is sniffing hay in the corner and pawing the ground. I've gone to a few live shows recently, and each time, I feel older than I did before. In a constant state of process and inventory: Here is where I am. This is what I have. This is what I'm working with. What can I make of it?
I have this vague inkling that if I just focus on making good music--that the rest of it will kind of figure itself out.