Tuesday, October 9, 2012

You are Gonna Pull Something If You Don't Stretch

I've been asked a bunch about songwriting. It is a craft I dearly love. I plan on writing a book about it at some point but for now I'm too busy writing songs to write a book.

But as I get started today I am reminded of one element of song writing that many songwriters mistakenly skip. 

And that's the warm up. 

Maybe, I'll just warm up and show ya what I mean.


I have a stack of songs I need to finish. 

Today I am in the right state of mind to make headway. State of mind makes head way. Head way for my mind. What's a head weigh? 8 lbs if it is more fuller than mine. If it's a mine, I've apparently been mind shafted. Can ya dig it? 

But the point is, I feel like writing/righting. And when I'm in this zone , 

I can't just run into running , you see? 
"..one doesn't fly into flying" said Neitzche. 

I like to start with a little linguistic yoga. I like to unscrew the top of my noggin and let the words fall out like cooked noodles. Al dente. 

It's the stretch before the marathon. You know? The marathon of carefully placed thoughts that stretch for 26 smiles and a little more. So this is the stretch before the stretch, that eventually leads to the home stretch. (I know that's stretching it, but I don't wanna pull anything)

So today before any attempt I have at serious artistic thought, I have to get my brain out of gear. So I will kill 2 birds with one stone (NOTE: no animals were harmed in the writing/righting of this blog) and stretch here on my blog. 

You will be my sounding board

Sounding board.

Sounding Bored? 

No. Not all. Writing without rules excites me. I'm only getting started.

Seems like I am getting to the point. 

I can't get to the point when there isn't one. (question: doesn't every sentence that reaches a period get to the point? Well obviously that one didn't, but this one did. After a pause for the comma.)

In this happy place where nothing is wrong, it's simple to begin.

No topic is taboo.

If you want,

Use Bipartisan Political Puppetry, ala Sesame Street residents to make the country's candidates for Presidense 

seem to mock us with an intent that is too bent to make sense ....of.

Oh no I need to wear gloves

So my 9th grade English Tsar/CSI TV star will not see my fingerprints all over the last dense sentence which ended with a preposition. Those are horrible thing to end sentences with. 

I did it again. This time on purpose. Don't tell. 

See? We are pissing off teachers, that means we are using our reachers.

Stretch. this is the stretch remember?

The goal here isn't to reach a destination. Actually it isn't even to move toward it. 

We are simply warming up. This is free form motion of the faculties.

Facul-tease. Stop that. 

Ok. I'm feeling good about the flowetry and prose that arose from me. It was fun but have we begun? I guess, supposedly.


(After I have loosened up by just writing free form silliness and word play like I have above for a while I turn to a slightly more structured writing. This writing should be timed. I'd say somewhere between 5-10 minutes. The purpose of this writing is to be descriptive as possible about a specific singular object. The idea is to tell an engrossing story about the selected object. This story should be succinct and not terribly long,  being as you are only allowing yourself 5-10 minutes to create it. And a great idea is to focus on the senses. Really think about sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. This is objective, creative writing. The act of doing it will greatly benefit the creative process once we reach that phase.)

Let's try it.

Here we go.

Object: Old Muffler in my neighbor's yard

7 min of Writing:

       The pale blue moon light reflects from the fog and almost lights the path to it. Although vegetation has done its best to disguise with years of growth, this is a path I'll never forget. I'm closing in. The last 10 feet. I feel slowly forward. My bare feet grip the damp ground that feels like cotton candy but smells metallic. I inch closer until the moon paints the dim silhouette of the muffler. I can still hear echoes of spark plugs from the car's prime pulsing. I imagine the engine when it was new, throbbing and growling on a night like this. Now the last of the echoes are still trying to reach the cool night air and be heard after all these years. My hands slide along the jagged wreck. This long forgotten coarse piece of chrysler guiding my course. X marks the spot. I get on all fours and begin to dig my hands into the soil beneath the twisted shrapnel. I move forward and feel the roughness scrape my neck to remind me not to raise up. I push my fingers deeper into the ground, pulling out scoop by scoop until I finally reach it. It was still there after.....

The timer went off. My 7 minutes are up. 

The story about the muffler sucks. It's isn't great. I obviously wrote too slowly and thought about it too much because I didn't get to the end. But that isn't the point. The point of this is to exercise writing freely.
And that.......I have done.

So now I am ready to actually take on the righting/writing of a song. 

There are no guarantees that I will create something stellar today, but having done exercises like the one above for years I can tell you that they help. 

It is much easier to write something creative and of quality when your mind has been allowed to warm up.

This may have been a random post and I may have to elaborate on it later, but it has helped me get my mind ready to write. So thank you for being my sounding board. You have helped me get ready to create. 

And hopefully...... maybe .....by seeing the silly, loosening up exercises I use, your creative writing may benefit as well.

Try it. 

Even if you don't want to write a song or poem, it's kind of fun to free form write just as a stress reliever.

So for your own sanity......write. 

Worst case scenario you will feel better. Best case scenario you will feel better AND you will create something you are proud of. 


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