walking slowly towards spring

Sometimes songwriting is like pulling teeth. I have this fun music track composed by a new collaborator, and I’m trying to write lyrics for it. I have come up with what I think is a real jumpin’ chorus, and I have a couple of half verses… and I swear, I got two lines last night and a couple today… but it’s so slow and painful. It seems to be more natural to me to write words first, and then add music -- although in past I have improvised my way through a new song, both lyrically & melodically.

As I learned more about songwriting I realized that (as the feedback kept saying) my melodies ‘meandered’ and lacked structure. So I began to write the lyrics first, looking for good form, contrast between sections, interesting rhyme schemes, stuff like that. And that’s become my way of doing things. Because if the lyrics have good structure, then the music tends to follow.

So here I am trying to write lyrics to someone else’s already existing music. I don’t know if it’s just a creative down time or whether it’s doing it ‘backwards’ that’s holding me up. But I’ll just keep reading & singing what I have over the next few days and hope that inspiration will strike.

I did a fair bit of music writing this week too – came up with a couple of :30 action instrumentals to pitch to an opportunity. Also heard a short dramatic indie film was looking for a composer, so I sent in a couple of pieces for consideration. And a tv show was looking for some exotic electronica & I submitted to that as well. I have another piece ready to submit tomorrow… ambient electronica for a compilation album – just want to listen to it with ‘fresh ears’ before I submit it. And I heard about a neat musical event that is looking for 60 sec long electroacoustic pieces for the event, radio play, etc. You have to write the piece specifically for the show. So I started one tonight. I will try to write at least two, I have a week to get them in.

I also have been working on my idea for the “Script Frenzy” challenge in April. I’ve got an idea for a screenplay that’s kinda a cross between ‘As Good as It Gets’ and ‘The Goodbye Girl’. I’ve been reading a book on screenwriting that I had in my library from a while ago. I even found a place I could submit the thing to… if it’s any good in the end. I don’t know how it will turn out – I’ve never done anything like it before. In preparation for your script writing, you are supposed to write the “two minute movie” – meaning you have to summarize the beginning, middle & end of your story on exactly two pages. Well, my beginning (which is supposed to be about 10 minutes of film (that means 10 pages of script & about 1/2 a page of the 'two minute movie' outline)), took all the first page. I think I put in too much detail. And afterwards I realized a lot of the ‘action’ takes place in the character’s ‘heads’. Which doesn’t translate well to film, ha ha.

This is the third week I’ve had organic fruits & vegetables delivered. I believe it is making a difference in how and what I eat. I had a great dinner tonight with carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, celery, green pepper, garlic. I got some lovely mangos, pears, bananas & oranges in the box this week. There have been too many days in the past where I got tied up with work and neglected to get groceries and ended up eating sandwiches or porridge for meals. Just walking into the kitchen and seeing a big bowl of fruit, or opening the fridge and seeing lots of veg, makes me feel good.

The other thing I’ve been doing is reading Eckhart Tolle’s most recent book, “The New Earth”. I have one of his other books, “Stillness Speaks”, my girlfriend gave it to me a while ago. The same girlfriend said I should pick up the newest book. Oprah is also doing an on-line thing with Eckhart every Monday night, I’ve managed to catch some of it a couple of times.

A lot of the book resonates with me, but I feel like I’d have to read it ten more times to really get it, ha ha. But some of the things he talks about, I’ve talked about with my students in my own small way. About being aware of our programming when we can, and observing our reactions to things. It seems to me that the first thing that has to happen for anything to change, is that we become aware of it. This is very true in voice. Part of the job of the mentoring teacher is to encourage the student to become aware of how they do things in the moment, and then gently suggest new thoughts and have them try again. Hopefully, if what you said made sense, they feel a difference. And it’s those little differences between before and after that, over time, show them ‘how it should be’. Anyway, the whole Eckhart thing is pretty deep. I will keep trying to get my brain around it.

Something unexpected happened in my life a few days ago, and this past week has been like a cherry tree, blossoming in spring. Something you hope for during the cold winter, bowed down by your memories. Suddenly there is a little warmth, a little sun. And your spirits rise. You move forward, a little hesitant, your feet unsure, hoping you will not trip and fall, hoping you will do things right.

Just a block away from me there is a street lined with cherry trees in full bloom. I will go stand beneath them, lifting my face to the scented canopy, my heart glad :)

No comments: