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Writing...


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Been worried about writing lately, because I haven’t written much in recent months. There’s only been:

“Hey, Little Chicken,” for Gene Burnett’s album of chicken songs;

“No Good Songs About the War,” the protest song;

“Dirty Deeds We Done to Sheep,” written from a title somebody else supplied;

“Milepost 43,” the ode to Al David’s missing underwear (and that one dates from Pineyfest, beginning of last August)

Not exactly one a month—it’s more like 4 in 7 months. I have been busy—but “busy” doesn’t count as an excuse, when I work songs out in my head. Where does inspiration come from, anyway?

Well, “Deeds” was one of those songs written from the title, and somebody else—a rock guitarist in Cleveland—gave me the title. “No Good Songs” was written to show people how a protest song is supposed to be written—and the hook (and title) echoed the question I’d seen on line, “How come there’s no good songs about the war?” I wrote the chicken song because Gene Burnett asked me for one. And “Milepost 43” is one of those true stories that’s so unbelievable it belonged in a song. And I experienced the true story because I was at Pineyfest.

So all that inspiration essentially came from outside. Maybe the implication is that I should get out more. I haven’t done much besides work and play music. Designing the SOSA posters (did another one Sunday) is the first real innovative thing I’ve done in weeks—and it was exciting. I routinely give other writers advice to go out and collect new impressions, and I should take my own advice. I’m in the middle of Shakespeare country, and haven’t seen a play. There are bookstores I haven’t visited (and more I don’t even know about). And it’s been weeks since I saw a movie (longer if you don’t count DVDs). More importantly, I haven’t been to things with other people—and I need people.

Accordingly, that’s the prescription: (1) Don’t worry about it. (2) Get out more. (3) Do different things. (4) Surround myself with other people. And see what happens.

Did write something today, for an online contest wanting cookie songs. It’s a parody (parodies are always good to start with) of an old Arlo Guthrie tune—only mine is about snickerdoodles, and is fairly sleazy (if you have a dirty enough mind). No feedback yet on the lyrics. I’ll wait to record it until I see if anybody likes it.

THIS WEEK: Practice with Screamin’ Gulch on Wednesday. Tuesday night was in Ashland at Chris Parreira’s open mike; got to play lead on two of Darrin Wayne’s songs (cool) and he liked it (very cool). And that’ll be it. I have to visit our rental house this weekend, and judge a speech tournament my daughter’s in. Probably Thursday I should put new strings on the guitar—it’ll be my only chance.

Joe

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