Relationships are the higher learning of the soul. We look for the perfect one to sustain us; we also mine the failed ones for insight into how to grow into our fullest selves.
These songs document a short, failed relationship that stimulated me to transcend my limits creatively. It catapulted me into a much deeper way of creating, writing music, living life. In that way, though it seemed to document a deep and painful failure, it also pointed me towards a tremendously positive growth spurt.
I learned a lot about what motivates me to write songs ... how my creativity seeks to organize, summarize, make sense of contradiction and the bittersweet feelings that romantic love encapsulates so well.
The first fifteen songs were entirely written in the week following a break-up in the spring of 2007. Late-night lyrics, sentimental melodies, single takes. Possible reclamation of love?
No. Rejection. Not even listened to. Shock. Finality.
Long, forlorn letters. Forgotten chords. The sense of rejection sinks home, abandonment to a depth beyond the details of the short relationship. Edge of despair. Like the straw that breaks the camel's back, the sense of "falling down" way beyond the magnitude of the burden added. Sometimes, simple actions release an energy dramatically beyond the expected outcomes.
Playing tag with unresolved endings of other relationships, a marriage twenty years ago. Well-worn patterns of dysfunctional behaviors like braille poetry.
And yet, unpredictably, release from grief. Psychological healing. Art therapy. You can lose something completely, and yet gain something else equally powerful and positive. Writing honestly and for myself is the only pathway that leads to fresh air and a sunny world waiting to be explored. These little songs have become touchpoints for me to continue to check in with who I am.
One year later: three final songs written on the anniversary: one focused on the poetry of loss, one focused on reframing the relationship as the winter version of a summer fling, one focused on the creative release from romantic mystery into the world of close friendship. Love lost can be transmogrified magically in song. Each of these songs is a revelation to me.
Two years later: moving beyond, I see this album as a turning point in my life; a point where I incorporated the muse in a way that was sustainable in my life, not one that was constantly arriving and disappearing traumatically. The writing of songs, listened to or not is a potent therapeutic exercise; a sound journal. This shared narrative is further healing.
I pushed myself to find the jazzy chords she enjoyed in Nina Simone and other vocalists. My voice could not stay in tune and yet I do find a way to write and sing a song unlike anything else I've ever written. There is a confidence in this song that I was incapable of in the relationship, an invitation to intimacy.
Cold feet, warm heart meets cold feet and I am outahere! Though the outcome here was the latter, the former is possible in the future...
Track Name: Sentimental Desert
An appropriated story...
A story she told me of her youth; I couldn't get it out of my head until I told it; and yet the ending is mine ... this is the last song I wrote ... summarizing, making sense of the relationship all played out. Short of stealing memories for the sake of song; time to stop.