Bone Pile


The bone pile is a gruesome place.
It’s where a good song idea goes to die when it is too painful to actually write.  
It’s where a particularly poetic line wanders aimlessly without form.  
It’s where a great hook is doomed to repeat on loop, over and over and over.
It’s where a lonely bridge jumps into oblivion.
It’s where a traumatic urge, a humorous itch, a perfect turn-of-phrase, and half of a perfect melody all wait for divine inspiration.  
It’s song purgatory. It’s the island of misfit songs. It’s a stack of messy notebooks. It’s hope and potential waiting for an opportunity.  It’s the bone pile. 

I always have a notebook nearby to scribble ideas.  It could be one line, a title, most of a song, a chord structure, or a melody.  It could be a complete song that is not very good but seemed important at the time. I try to be consistent with the notebook but inspiration is rarely premeditated.  There are many scraps of paper, odds-and-ends, and even a piece of toilet paper tucked into the bone pile.  When a notebook gets filled, it goes on the shelf and a new notebook is started.  Don’t ask about a specific type of notebook or writing utensil.  It doesn’t matter.  Currently, I am using a small notebook because it’s easier to tuck into a pocket or a bag to ensure that it’s always on hand. The important thing is that it is paper.  I have tried typing onto a screen at various points but the results have never been good.  Ink is fine but a pencil provides more freedom, permission, and forgiveness.  

As long as there are fresh ideas, I follow them.  Whenever I sit down to work and find myself without a new idea, I turn to the bone pile.  It’s amazing what a clean perspective can do for an idea. I’ve had a number of my favorite songs claw their way out of the bone pile.  You never know what you will find in the bone pile but it’s guaranteed that the cupboard will never be bare. You can always find some tiny morsel on which to gnaw.  
 
The following is a list of my songs that have spent time on the bone pile (updated as necessary):
Broken and Beautiful
Cosmoline
Ghosts
Whistle At the Sky
Lost Cause
Kissing Tree
Old Hymns
Lion Tamer
Thanksgiving Day
The Locket
Where I Go
 

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