Some "new" lyrics can be found here. All in varying states of "finishedness", none of them I would say are finished or complete. If they're not finished, why present them? Basically I've found in the past that as I work on the songs and the structure, the lyrics change: the lyrics influence the music and the music influences the lyrics - it is pointless making things too rigid at this point. However I think what are shown are some blurry images / notions which will become clearer in time; outlines of the subject matter.
There are obviously too many lyrics to fit on one album but these are the ones that I want to choose from and that currently interest me. Some are old, some are very old, some are quite recent, some are just twinklings in my mind's eye waiting to be written.
The interesting thing about the old ones which I haven't thought of for a long time, is that I'm pleasantly surprised that they stand up. I didn't go through all my old notebooks "looking for songs to put on the next album". I just remembered them. And when I looked yesterday, though sure, I may have made some changes (hopefully indicating I'm learning and growing), none of the songs required anything radical. Indeed, some of them were better than I remembered. That's the beauty of time: it tests things. Conversely I guess that means the "younger" songs are more at risk, they'll maybe need a bit of nurturing, care and protection; actually, more scrutiny. If that's the case, why list songs that aren't even written yet? Well I feel time is running out and I want to write them before it does. Listing them, means that I am nagged to get on with them.
As I work on Postcard, I won't do any "quality control announcements" of changes (okay, stop it, I can hear some of you laughing!) Hopefully you'll notice things taking shape if you come back to visit. As musical ideas get married to the lyrics I'll post the sound clips on the relevant pages and if I work up the nerve, perhaps even live versions of the songs. All before they're recorded properly. It's going to be quite organic this one.
Anyone who knows me personally will realise that the lyrics to Postcard refer to my mother dying unexpectedly when I was seven. I don't think they are necessarily great lyrics but I think they give a good impression of a seven year old's vision of that period. They are also I think the first set of words that came "through me" rather than were written "by me". (I was heartened to read yesterday Carole King in her autobiography Natural Woman, describe the phenomena in those terms).
As such, I felt the event and the process through which the lyrics were written are important enough for Postcard to be the title track of this next album. However as I continue to write for the album I'm coming to the realisation that that fateful day and the familial environment that followed, still after all this time, continue to have a significant impact on my life to the extent that it almost becomes debilitating at times. As I get older I can see patterns of behaviour in different circumstances and relationships that have less to do with the individuals involved and everything to do with me. As I come to the end of this particular phase with my music and writing (and life) I also realise that I want to become less of a victim to these issues.
Re-reading Families And How To Survive Them (Robin Skynner, John Cleese), I'm beginning to see how it all fits together, particularly with respect to my relationships with others and in particular the underlying similarities with my girlfriends. It's not an easy process. As Kahil Gibran said in The Prophet: "The pain is the breaking of the shell that holds your understanding". And I do think I am beginning to understand. My heart breaks for the little boy that lost his mother and how no one spoke to him about it for many long years. On the plus side I know it has made me a good listener and that I've helped many. Also, I know that many go through far worse than I have. I guess I'm writing this to just try to explain that if our paths should cross and I seem odd (or odder) to you then please be assured that it's unlikely to be anything to do with you and everything to do with this process that I've decided to go through.
When I first started writing the story / essay At The Water's Edge there was a whole concept that I struggled to include which involved how I seemed to be running from internal demons which I collectively saw as a "shadow". The story was meant to end with me facing that shadow and actually coming to terms with it and becoming at one with it, a sort of atonement (at-one-ment). However I was never able to successfully integrate that idea when I came back to do battle with the story again in 2008.
I see now that my "pursuers" in the story represented "external fears" (concerns about financial security, personal welfare etc; basically what society was saying I "should" do ) whereas the "shadow" was collectively more about internal issues that had been deeply buried or ignored. I don't know how these concepts and images came into my consciousness as they seem archetypal (indeed I've recently seen a similar use of the "shadow" analogy to mean exactly the same thing). About a month ago it felt as if my shadow had finally chased me down and that if I was to move forward and not repeat old patterns of behaviour I had to face it. The shadow was like a dark ocean that I chose to sail off into.
So, where am I now? If I'm honest I feel like I've had the profoundest of months and much has fallen into place for me. The last paragraph of Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig comes to mind:
"Trials never end of course. Unhappiness and misfortune are bound to occur as long as people live, but there is a feeling now, that was not there before, and is not just on the surface of things, but penetrates all the way through: We've won it. It's going to get better now. You can sort of tell these things."
With thanks to those close friends who have been around for me recently.
I remember in an interview that I read that the interviewee believed that it didn't seem to matter where you were located in life you still seemed to take around the same baggage with you. At the time I felt I understood what he meant: i.e. that you are the same person, with the same issues, no matter where in the world you are. I now kind of feel that sentiment can be extended to include no matter what you do too: i.e. no matter what you do in life you still take the same issues around with you. However I have a caveat, and that is, when you actually do what you really want to do, then you have no more excuses, no more "I didn't want to do it anyway" get-out clauses. (Actually I've just realised that I refer to this in the ATWE story). And I think that's the stage I reached recently. Even though I've been doing what I've wanted to do, I've still been making the same mistakes and the only person to blame, who is responsible, is me.
To break through the wall that I hit recently, I was drawn to do a lot of reading and writing. Interestingly the answers for me seem to lie in books that I've had for some time and which I've referred to in the ATWE part of this website. In fact I seem to understand and relate to these books far better than I did before. And indeed I feel they've indicated the way forward for me. There is too much to include on this page but I do want to synthesise the ideas and thoughts and put them into some sort of context and order. I have to stress that I'm not writing these things from a perspective of having found "Divine Truth", more from the point of view of what is interesting to me and perhaps seems to be true for me. As such, if you're interested, the ideas are here. If you want to be notified when I add anything to these pages there are specific Twitter and Facebook pages for ATWE.