94. Song-writing

I was sitting on my balcony, playing mandolin, drinking some goat piss, and howling at the moon. You know, if you have to be depressed about your life sucking, this is a pretty good way to do it. I had just finished singing a good hurtin’ song (Who’s Gonna Raise These Babies, by Shovels and Rope, if you really must know). There ain’t nothing to make you enjoy life quite like a good hurtin’ song.

I think it was Howlin’ Wolf who said that the blues (or any sad music, really) isn’t about being sad; it’s about the joy of sitting around and complaining about how hard your life is. I was feeling it tonight. The goat piss always helped.

I wanted to write a song, but couldn’t think of anything. My muse could be a fickle bitch by times: I can’t seem to force a song. I remember trying to write one on the first wedding anniversary after I left Whatshername. It was when I tried to rhyme “just a ho” with “shove it up your camel toe” that I realized that song didn’t really need to be written.

Not that I haven’t written my share of angry done-me-wrong songs. And really there is such a shortage of songs written by men about being mistreated by women. I felt a definite need to write more. Maybe my muse would be there for me later in the week?

My phone chirped. I picked it up and saw a text from Jeff.

JEFF: I’m trying to write a song. How do you write a song?

ME: These two web sites are an amazing help: thesaurus.com and rhymezone.com.

JEFF: Wow! Those are great resources! Now what do I write about?

ME: Have you approached the woman at the library yet?

JEFF: NO! She’s fantastic, so naturally she scares the shit out of me!

ME: Naturally. Then there’s your song. Write a blues about how scary it is to try to meet a librarian.

JEFF: Okay. I guess I can do that. Haven’t there been a million blues written on that topic.

ME: Probably fewer than you think. If you REALLY want to differentiate from all those other librarian blues, then do it in waltz time. The world needs more songs in 3/4.

JEFF: Great idea! Any other tips?

ME: Your chorus needs a different chord progression than your verses. Breaks up the monotony.

JEFF: Cool!

ME: Also, the verses should be about specific incidents, while the chorus should be about the generalities you’ve observed in these incidents.

JEFF: Really?

ME: Really, dude. Check out all the best songs. They all follow that pattern.

JEFF: Cool, thanks for the help!

I was pleased that Jeff had stopped using the childish short forms in his texting. Now I felt a little less like The Supreme Being was an imbecile. And check out the good advice I gave him! For someone who has trouble writing his own songs when the song isn’t practically hitting him over the frigging head, I sure went all Yoda on Jeff when he asked for help.

How’d my glass get empty?

2 thoughts on “94. Song-writing

  1. Denise

    Paul, check out the old Tears for Fears song “Head over Heels” about a guy trying to talk to a librarian… or Ghostbusters for inspiration :) And as someone who worked as a librarian in college, we are not scary. Just go talk to her. Books are a good topic.

Comments are closed.