Saturday, January 5, 2013

The ghost of songs past

I really felt like writing this afternoon. I even had a nice little stretch of time to do it, while I was chopping up vegetables and meat for lunch. The problem? No ideas had taken hold. Usually I want to write because I've thought of a phrase or a rhyme or something else to build on. Today, what I mostly had was an urge to create.

I gave it a go anyway. Played around. And maybe one of my vague, half-formed ideas could've stuck and evolved. Instead, I let previous songs I'd written creep into my head. Lyrics I was particularly proud of.

My vague ideas fled as the ghost of songs past settled in. "How can we ever live up to those," they cried.

Intellectually I understand that songs are the result of so much work, so many discarded words, over such a long period of time. I remember what it took to assemble them, how much grunt work was involved. So why would I expect a new song to fall out of the sky, fully formed? I know better.

And yet, the songs I've already written can intimidate me. Too much distance between them and whatever new thing I'm thinking about.

At my next little stretch of free time, I'll have to try again. Remind myself that I don't need to produce a finished work of art in one sitting. All I need is to develop one tiny idea that is interesting enough to take root. One tiny idea that refuses to let go.

1 comment:

DeppityBob said...

As someone who loves to read his own words, I feel your anguish. I look back at my (minor) award-winning book chapter and sense that I'll never equal it again.