Thursday, March 22, 2012

Songwriting: New Songs

When I was traveling on my most recent roadtrip out West, I decided to continue to write song lyrics. Some of the places I visited inspired me, but just as important was the integrative thinking and meditating I was doing while driving. I do some of my best personal sorting, my work on myself, when I'm on a roadtrip. I think best when I'm in motion, whether it's walking or driving. The physical movement connects my head and my heart, and often things come clear in that mode that would never do so if I was just sitting there at my writing table cogitating. That's because thought isn't just intellectual, for me, it's physical. Memory and psychology are in the body, not floating above it.

While I was on the road, I wrote lyrics for about 6 songs. Two of them are basically done, another two I finished after returning home, and two others are still percolating.

I am developing the work habit of keeping a songwriting journal, which is a separate notebook that I copy lyrics into. Some I rewrite as I copy them from my pocket notebook. Others I am just putting in there as fragments, assuming that I will later sit down and rewrite them into something more coherent. That's how "The Power of Love" ended up being written, and rewritten. The songs I already completed I just copied in as finished lyrics, so they are in there. The next step will be to set them to music.

I find myself hearing the melody as I read the words. That's the same way I've been writing songs all along. Some melodic line always seems to emerge from the words, or alongside the words, when they emerge simultaneously. I have another little pocket notebook with music staff lines in it, to write down musical fragments when I hear them with my inner ear. (In various spiritual traditions, they talk about the Third Eye, which is the sixth chakra, on the forehead between the brows, the seat of intuition, and of the reasoning, enlightened mind. I think that there is also a Third Ear, for musical intuition, and all that implies.)

I am beginning to envision writing an entire album's worth of new songs. Then in a few months perhaps I can take them into the studio and record them. (Playing most of the instruments myself, certainly lots of Stick, bass, and keyboards, which I can play myself. One song would love to have some Hammond B3 organ on it, too.) I don't know when or how this will come to fruition, but it is starting to feel like a good next project to work on. Just keep writing songs. Gather them together in sheaves and throw them to the winds. Share them with the world.

These plans could take awhile to come to fruition. Meanwhile, just keep writing. Always keep writing.

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