I’ve never been able to communicate why I song write. I’ve read inspirational quotes about art and songwriting in particular - how it’s an outlet, and how it helps a person express themselves. It’s a romantic way of looking at it, but lately I’ve been seeing it all from a different perspective and now it seems that self expression could hardly scratch the surface.
I’m taking an AP Literature class right now and I have the privilege of learning from a teacher who is truly passionate about it. I’ve only been back at school for a couple months and already it’s changed my outlook on all things artsy! Something that has become increasingly clear to me is the consistencies and inconsistencies between artists (particularly poets and songwriters).
“I believe that music is a force in itself. It is there and it needs an outlet, a medium. In a way, we are just the medium.” - Maynard James Keenan
“Music is like a huge release of tension.” - James Taylor
“I need some kind of emotional stake in it to write my lyrics, assuming that place. It might just be an emotion I understand but am not currently experiencing necessarily.” - John Mayer
I can relate to all three of these quotes even though they’re all saying something completely different. There have been times where a song has just flowed out easily in one night, and others I have to fight with. Sometimes it has nothing to do with anything I’ve ever experienced before.
We had a discussion in AP Literature about how writing is almost like throwing up onto the page - purging. No, I don’t throw up all over the notebooks in my room for funzies when I’m home alone! That would be very, very unhealthy and frankly pretty gross. But I’ve realized that writing is isn’t always fun while you’re doing it. Sometimes the result, or the song itself is the therapy - not the writing. Kind of like puking :) Pleasant, I know!
Writing, for me, is always changing. Sometimes it feels like a song is waiting to be written, sometimes I have to chase it down and beat the heck out of it before it just cooperates and comes out as the finished product. Sometimes I’ll get so pissed off at a song because it just won’t write itself, then other times I get so frustrated with myself because I can’t write the thing. Sometimes a song is barf, like I said before. Sometimes it feels like its a part of me, sometimes its an entirely different entity. I’ll never be able to put my finger on it, but the best things in life are mysterious that way.