Friday, April 4, 2008

The Word of the Day - WORD

BLOGGERS NOTE: a few writer-friends and I do a daily writing exercise (only it ends up not being daily because we are all LAZY) called Word Of The Day (WOTD). The first one to the computer in the morning sends out a word to the others and we all write on that word for around 10 minutes. I use two random word generators from the internet to find the words, usually nouns. Sometimes the word is just a jumping off place for us to practice our writing, use strong imagery and include all our senses in the writing. Obviously, today's writing from me did not prove any skill in using all my senses. I need to work on that. But it did remind me what an insane thing songwriting is. So here in my newborn BLOG I will sometimes paste my Word Of The Day writing. Here goes today's piece. The word is WORD (seriously, that's what came up on the random word generator)

April 4, 2008 word
The word is hand. It’s at the end of the line in the song in a place that needs a rhyme. When I am that deep into the creation of a song it consumes my head, like thinking about food does when I am on a diet. I quit diets a long time ago because I don’t like myself when I’m on them. I keep thinking I’ll do the same with songwriting…just quit the process altogether…but I have so darn much I want to say, and that matters to me so much more than the way I look. Or feel, sadly. So I am doing the dishes, and the dang song I am working on is underscoring every thought. It even underscores the score to TV shows I watch. The melody in embryo bounces off the tile walls of our shower. It’s sifted in between the tiny light feather down in my pillow. Sits under my ears all night and makes itself known before I raise my head off the pillow in the morning. It accompanies my prayers. Songs in process are like the novels I keep myself from reading, because I cannot live my life and forget about them, so they are with me 24/7 until they are complete. I like songs. I just don’t love songwriting. Except for the 1 in 10 times after laboring through a thought and squeezing it into a crazy format that has certain meter and certain rhyme patterns and you have to make it sound fluid and not contrived…one in maybe 10 or even 20 ends up saying what I meant to say, and that can be pretty satisfying. I’ve written hundreds of songs and I can probably count on one hand, and one extra finger maybe, the songs I’ve written that really do it for me. We’re talking thousands of hours laboring over words. And music. Let’s see, adding up my royalties, which is pretty hard to do because my royalty checks have ranged between the thousands of dollars and the .03 dollars (Yes, I have received a royalty check for 3 cents) and I am an artist and not an accountant…hmmm, I probably have made just about .03 dollars an hour writing songs. Not that such things should be measured in dollars. I’m just saying.
So I am trying to find the appropriate thought for the place in the song I am writing that just happens to end with the right syllable landing on a rhyme to the word hand. Since I was a kid I’ve rhymed like this: …and…band…cand…dand…eand…fanned…gand…hand, oh that’s the word itself…ummmm, where was I…iand…jand…kand…land…mand…and so on until I hit the letter z. Then I start the two letter word starters…stand…shand…thand…planned. When the right word pops up I grab onto it and start thinking about what that word might have to do with what I am writing and I see if I can make it work and appear like I did not just go through the whole alphabet looking for a word that rhymed. I’ve tried songs without rhymes and very few of them work. Seriously, try singing your favorite songs and see if they do not have rhymes. So anyway, when I have exhausted my old method alphabet-in-the-head word search I go to the study and pull out my Clement Wood Rhyming Dictionary and work my way to the words that end with –and. As often as not I end up changing the line that has the word I am trying to rhyme because nothing fits the pattern and lets me say what I want to say. But at least I have Clement Wood on my side, laying those words out for me in one place.
Writing songs is like trying to be me and do the Rubik’s Cube. Some people can just wiz right through it, twisting and rolling and coming up with one color on each side. But I can’t. Sometimes I get close, like a side or two will be just perfect. But there is always some little green pixel amid the red, and when I try to change it, it also puts blue in the yellow. I don’t really know why I put myself through this. When I die my kids will sort through my stuff and one of them will take my scriptures, which should have much more tattered pages than they actually have. And one will take my journals, all smeary and hard to read. And one will take my Clement Wood Rhyming Dictionary, with its yellowed pages and somewhat ragged edges. They’re all just words, and they all meant something to me.

1 comment:

  1. yeah. so glad to see this post. keep it up and thanks for sharing!
    luv ya