March 25, 2009
this is a song called “woke up.” i woke up this morning and i couldn’t think of anything to write about and so then i wrote a song about waking up in the morning and not being able to think of anything to write about. i think a repeated, programmatic structure (i’m sure there’s a musical term) like in this song is really helpful for writing something quickly and easily (it also helps that the verse and the chorus are just the same chords played differently). oulipian kind of restrictions on how/what you’re writing can also help — not only in terms of your productivity but also in helping you come up with nice things you might not have otherwise. for example, in the second verse of the song, all my feelings are the names of bands that have colors in their names (simply red, pink floyd, blue cheer, etc.). i think that’s kind of fun (i got help from this list). normally i would write a third verse but i couldn’t immediately think of one and i thought it was sort of appropriate to repeat a verse in a song about not knowing what to write about in a song. anyway, just a nice, quick song, both to write and listen to. there’s a short profile of the-dream in this month’s rolling stone and apparently he writes songs really fast, which is always something i aspire to, if not something i can always do.
“He’s some kind of musical savant – not just becaues he plays piano and most brass instruments but because he writes songs so fast it defies belief. “Umbrella,” 2007’s most culture-dominating smash, took just 15 minutes. Last year’s equivalent, “Single Ladies,” took 20. “He has an amazing gift, says Antonio “L.A.” Reid, chairman of Dream’s label, Island Def Jam. “He was here in the office a couple of days ago. There was a track playing down the hall from a producer who was visiting on of our A&R guys. Dream heard the track, stood in the door, and wrote a song to the track and walked out and got on the elevator. And the thing he wrote was amazing.”
in the first verse, i make a reference to the book the artist’s way. i haven’t read the artist’s way and i have no plan to do so any time soon. however, once i heard something about how one of the main parts of the artist’s way is that you write what is called morning pages, which is a certain number of pages that you have to every day before . this is basically the same advice every writing teacher gives you in college, but in college writing wasn’t that important to me and so i never did it daily. last fall, though, when i was really blocked and really depressed because of being blocked, i did daily pages for like a month, three every morning before i could get out of bed. it did kind of help, although i don’t think it actually helped me generate anything i could use; i think it just made me feel less angst and stress about not writing, which was what i really needed. at first doing morning pages had the excitement of new things, but after a few weeks it became like what i imagine morning sickness is like — something you just have to get through to get on with your day. most of the output from my morning pages was emo blather like this random page from one of the notebooks i used:
“i don’t know why it has to be so hard, living, what is it that makes it so hard, it’s hard for everybody but it seems especially hard for me. i guess that’s because i’m me and i’m not anybody else, that probably makes a pretty big difference. it’s a shitty difference, though, really. why is it so hard? i want to eat what i really want to eat is a pastry or a donut but i’m not going to eat one becuase of the calories. it sucks, thoguh (sic), because i really want one. i’m not going to drink coffee, either, i think, i’m doing a good job with the coffee, it’s been three days and that’s a pretty long time. i want some though, i want the sweetness of it, the hotness, too. la la la la la A A A A A why is this so hard, why am i such a sad, mean person? i want a brain transplant. i like my brain and all but sometimes it would certainly be nice to have another how are productive people so productive how do they do so much more than me? it boggles my mind, it boggles my brain, it boggles the rain. i just don’t understand it, i used to have ideas, real ideas, good ideas, holdable, touchable, thinkable ideas, and now i don’t have them anymore. what happened? nothing happened that i can think of but something had to happen. it’s like that surgical medicine they give you where you stay conscious but you don’t make memories, that’s how i feel about this notebook writing and…”
yeah, so, for obvious reasons, i don’t do morning pages anymore, which i think is better for me and the world and everyone