What It’s All About…
As I see it, songwriting is about two things.
First: at it’s best, songwriting forces you to look inward and to grow in the doing of it. I’m pretty much living proof that it’s the doing of it that counts the most. If I’d stopped writing songs because no one heard them, there certainly wouldn’t be the number there are – and you and I wouldn’t be staring at this page. As the Bhuddists say – it’s the journey, not the destination.
Caveat Emptor: At its worst, songwriting kicks your ass up and down the street.
Second, not to get all metaphysical on you, but a big part of what we songwriters – or any artist – is trying to do is deny the existentialist’s perceived truth: in the end, we are all alone.
Any creation that strikes a welcome chord in another heart, or brings a nod of recognition of something shared with just one other soul – whispers and sometimes even shouts: we are not all alone. We can be heard. Perhaps, even, understood.
My guess is that all art is a result of wanting to be heard and understood.
What It’s Not
I won’t be writing about getting the songs you write heard. Or making money from your songs. I’m the last one who should be writing about any of that. I never put my songs out there, for various reasons (some of which I’m even aware of.) I won’t be writing about how to get them recorded, copyrighted or published. There are plenty of generous, knowledgable, successful people ready to help you with that. (See the links page.[coming soon])
What the blog will be about is the why and how of songwriting. Getting the song inside, out. How I – and (I hope) others make that happen.
Someone had to kick me good and hard to do this. I wondered whether anything I have to say wouldn’t just be more noise in the blogosphere. But it dawned on me eventually: not my call. Just as it never has been about my songs. Someone else will decide if they’re boring or not.
If this thing finds readers, well and good.
Further – if it encourages someone else to try their hand at this dubious proposition – writing songs in hopes someone might hear you and even better, understand what you’ve been flailing away at living in these times… all the better.
Busted: Not All Atruism
Just in case you were wondering: no, you haven’t heard one of my songs. It usually takes supper at my place or yours (and only if you ask specifically for me to drag along a guitar) for any of my songs to get heard.
And to be honest, that’s one of the things I’d like to see changed with this blog – or whatever it is. If I got rolled over by the proverbial bus tomorrow – that would be all (s)he wrote for my songs. No one else knows one, plays one – or even hums one. No one (besides me) has even forgotten one. And I’ve forgotten a good number of them. What does that tell you? For most of them, I’m OK with that.
But there’s a few I might like to leave behind. It’s that being heard and understood thing again. I’m no different. A good song, like a good painting or poem or novel – ALL good art, has no expiration date. Unlike ourselves. Art is our attempt to be heard and understood during – and beyond – our time on this uncertain planet.
Even with such a simple thing as a song.