Tuesday, July 8, 2014

No More Old Songs

So besides giving up the electric guitar until further notice, I'm really excited about this: I won't be playing any songs that I've written up 'til now for the foreseeable future, at all either in the privacy of my own home or for any audience. I know, it's extreme. But hell, I like things to be extreme. When it's a creative choice, an extreme gives me a feeling of power, of control, excitement, liberation.

It forces me to write new songs and to explore the territory that I'm interested in rather than continuing to write material that is of a piece with the old stuff. I want to focus my energy more on the writing aspect than the jamming. For instance, I've got a tune that I'm working on that is a character sketch. It could be a song or a short story. Or it could be both. I can write pages and pages about the character and what she's gone through and where she is now, and then decide what to include and what to hold back. Hemingway used to talk about his "iceberg" theory, in which the writer knows much more than he says. This perspective is quite useful no matter the genre that you work in for it enriches the work with depth it would otherwise not have. The whole point is just to get pen on paper, to let the ideas flow out without any sort of inhibitive editing. You can always go back later and edit, excise the cliches and redundancies, the mistakes, the idiocies. But to get anywhere you've got to tap into the river of song and let the waters flow.

Who knows when I'll have new songs? I've set the bar much higher, hoping to achieve a much higher level in terms of compositional quality on both the literary and musical plains. The ideas and feelings I want to communicate are important enough to me that it warrants a lot of hard work on developing new skills in both these areas.