July 17, 2021
Some of my songs are written because a particular notion amuses me. (Chicken Skin Shake)
My best songs seem to spring forth from nothingness. (Raise Your Hand). A song shows up on my guitar one day and I have no idea how I’ve come to know this song. (Valley of Dry Bones)
I believe the best art already exists prior to creation. There are songs floating around in the atmosphere, waiting for the right moment. It’s like plucking a cucumber from the vine. I consider myself a gardener. I do my best to enrich the soil and I tend the plants but I will never claim to have created the cucumber. I try really hard to be a good conduit. I will gladly harvest any songs that come to me. When I am blessed with a special song, I try to be a good steward of the work. I do my best to deliver the song and get out of the way.
I heard an interview with the author Anne Lamott. She suggested that aspiring writers begin each day with a prayer. I am paraphrasing but it was something along the lines of the following:
Help me to get out of the way in order to write what wants to be written.
The author Steven Pressfield has talked extensively about beginning his writing sessions with a similar sentiment. He has a ritual of reciting an offering to the muses before beginning his work every day.
I don’t think I have been a good conduit lately. I have been getting in the way of the song. I think I am trying too hard. I believe the best art comes from somewhere higher than me but I do not have a ritual or routine that facilitates this process. I think I need to find a way to sanctify my writing process. However this may become one more way in which I am trying too hard and getting in the way of the song.