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Time Travelin'

     I've been asking myself some fairly profound questions lately.  You know the type:

          - Am I really an existentialist? and does it even matter?

          - Why do my kids text me instead of dialing my phone number?

          - Why is television so crappy?

     For some reason, questions like these tend to occur to me while I'm driving.  Scary, isn't it?  For example, tonight I almost missed my turn while deep in thought about the origins of my musical motivation.  The question was "Why do I write songs?"  There it was, floating around in the car and, at times, blocking my view of the road.  I decided I'd better try to answer it before I passed my street and was halfway to Phoenix.  I thought I could save time by being methodical, and working my way back in time.

     I started with my most recent song.  It's not quite finished -- I just came up with the melody yesterday.  The lyrics were written about a month ago.  The seed for the song was planted when I was having a discussion about my father's death.  I went to bed.  The seed must have germinated in the night, because the next day I felt like writing a song.  For some reason I thought about my father's journal, which my sister had just sent me.  I had a feeling I'd find an idea there.  After spending a few minutes flipping through the pages, I found what I was looking for...a true story about war and fate. 

     Last year I wrote several songs that showed up on CD # 1 and CD #2.  Through a process that I don't understand, a theme, melody, or lyric would find their way into my consciousness from who knows where.  I might dream them, or think of them while half way between sleep and wakefulness.  I might just sit down with the guitar, determined to write a song, strum a chord, and an idea would spring up.  Or I would be out walking or driving, having a conversation or just deep in thought, and suddenly an idea would "strike a chord."  It was that way with Vertical Horizon.  Somehow, the path I was walking on, the bird I was looking for, and the sky above all collided, and the emotion I felt needed to be expressed.  I went home and wrote a song about two planets and friendship.  

     One of the first songs I wrote was "Inspiration," which came about after a 1-minute conversation about the upcoming election in 2008.  I said, "hey, that sounds like an idea for a song."  I went home and it sort of appeared on the page.  I don't remember thinking about it or writing it.  It's like when I'm in that zone of writing a song, I'm almost meditating or having a different kind of brain wave activity.  If you've ever written a poem, baked an incredible cake, or taught your child how to ride a bike, I'm sure you know what I mean.

     But I think this songwriting thing goes back even further.  Stay tuned for the previous episode. :) 

Comments

Che
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Dalila
August 01, 2013 @12:38 pm
Joe, great song! That really ipirsned me in so many ways. If everyone were followers , not much would change in the world; it remind me that many saints challenged the time they were living in, and just like Jesus, they had to face criticisms, again if everyone were followers, we wouldn't enjoy most of the technological inventions we have today, as much as breakthrough in social and spiritual values that open people's heart to others. I think we're privileged to live in the world of today, because people seems to better understand that God is a loving God, and very compassionate in which we can trust and confide to Him.
Ramblin' Jim
October 12, 2010 @04:45 am
You wrote: "a different kind of brain wave activity." That really struck a chord with me. For me, song writing is very closely related, or overlaps with, writing poetry. In both, I often start with a title, which seems to encapsulate something I want to say. You also wrote: "Stay tuned for the previous episode." Enigmatic as this is, it would be a great line for a song. Keep writing - I enjoy it.

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