Wednesday, June 13, 2012

On the 7th day of "pre CD release" Eric gave to me

Hello boys and girls , today's (7th day of pre CD release party) story is of how the song "I'm Through" came into being.

"I'm Through"

It is almost impossible for anyone, even the most ineffective among us, to continue to choose misery after becoming aware that it is a choice.
-William Glasser

Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.
-Warren Buffett

As a fun project in late 2011, a handful of Mobile Alabama area songwriters (Myself, Wendell, Les Hall, Wes Loper, Ross Newell, Dale Drinkard Jr.) started a writers' group. This group's mission was to practice our writers' chops and generally have more interaction with each other. The group was set up thusly: Each week a different member of the group would pick a topic, then every member would write a song about the topic and submit it by the following week. The group was beneficial for a number of reasons. One of which was the fact that the deadline gave us a needed sense of urgency. Another was the fact it was inspiring and intriguing to hear every one else's take on a topic you had just written a song about. I personally also liked the fact that I was forced to write about topics I wouldn't have come up with on my own.

This group was a lot of fun but it was more of a way to exercise our craft than actually produce "usable" songs. The happy biproduct of such a writers' group is that inevitably one of your "practice songs" will be something you like very deeply and it therefore becomes a real "usable" song. That's exactly what happened with "I'm Through".

Les Hall picked the topic that week. He chose "Houseboat".

There are a lot of different things that instantly flood my mind when I think houseboat. One of the things most aggressively flooding my mind was the actual flooding of said houseboat. I believe this is due largely to the fact that I had read a memoir sometime ago by regretful houseboat owner, William Wharton. In this memoir Wharton deals with one problem after another due to his being the owner of a decrepit houseboat.

Wharton had gotten fed up with the rat race of his work. Therefore he sold most everything he had to buy a houseboat and soak up the luxurious life as he drifted down the Seine River through Paris. That sounds like an incredible plan except.... as any used boat owner can tell you, a used boat is more vocation than vacation. Wharton's boat sank and he spent all of his effort and time slaving to resurrect his sieve and then keep it afloat.

As I read along I kept thinking this guy is in a miserable miserable predicament. It's not just that he had bad luck with his boat, it's the fact that he got his boat in order to escape the grind of work only to have more work.

Wharton's joy ride turned out to be more trouble than it's worth. I felt like instead of finding a peaceful spot to relax he had just become a 24 hour a day mechanic.

I believe in working. I believe in working hard. But when vacation time is more work than working time, something's got to give.

I found Wharton's lot to be highly unenviable. Hence the first line of the song :

"Wharton , you can have your houseboat.

Failure, bail your sieve down the Seine.

Patience may be virtue.

But all sinking captains drown the same"

With these lines as a beginning point Wendell and I laughed at how it perfectly reminded us of the struggles of being a boat owner but also reminded us of some relationships we had been in. These relationships were also too much work for the amount of joy produced. Or complete lack of joy
produced in some cases.

Therefore we twisted Wharton's plight to encompass a similar but more universal situation for the last verse: a relationship that promised to be great and fun but ended up (as Wharton's houseboat) to be just more work.

Last verse

"Her eyes are the daybreak
Shimmering diamonds on the waves

But she's broken in ways I can't fix

And when love is work and work can't stay

I didn't come here looking for a project

No I didn't sign up for you

And once my sole vacation
Becomes a vocation

I am through. "