Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Purpose of this Blog

I'm a singer and songwriter who has been prevented from singing by GERD-related esophagus and larynx damage since October 2007. If you know me well, you probably know that my true passion is not tea--it's music. I spend a lot of my time listening to music (a lot of it is from the 60's and 70's) and pursuing different musical personalities is one of my biggest obsessions. Really, though, my goal has been to turn this rather passive hobby into an active pursuit--to make my own contribution to the collection of words and music that continues to grow every day. It was my goal to do this when I moved to Seattle in 2007, but have been waylayed by my continuing health issues.

People have asked me: "Why not get somebody else to sing for you?" or "Can't you just get really good at playing guitar?" Unfortunately--stubbornly?-- (and I'll try not to get too far into this), the answer is no to both. All of my songwriting idols--Roy Harper, Robert Wyatt, Gene Clark, Bob Dylan, etc.--played and sang their own songs. It's about expressing a unique, idiosyncratic personality in the form of music--getting to know one a songwriter through his or her songs means understanding that songwriter on a whole other level. So, what I'm really hungering to accomplish is a similar feat. Here's what I think really appeals about this sort of self-expression: When you open your deepest feelings and passions up for others to see and experience, you pave the way for connection: common ground; shared profound experience; emotional or intellectual companionship in a world that seems to increasingly foster isolation. I'll stop there (too far) on that subject.

So, I stubbornly refuse to compromise my ideals and wait for my esophagus to get better. Why the blog? It's been really difficult to continue writing lyrics and music that I know I won't be able to sing, but the muse hasn't deserted me by a long shot. The primary purpose of this blog is for me to collect and post my lyrics. I think retyping and revisiting my words will remind me to write more often (like how you play a guitar more if it's sitting out, not in its case), and I can start posting new lyrics as they're written. It'll also be something of an academic exercise in humility, too, since I'll probably post some lyrics I'm not that proud of anymore, which will hopefully aid in improvement! Additionally, in case all of my possessions are burned in a fire, my lyrics will survive on the internet! Finally, it's a somewhat restricted chance for me to still put myself out there--if you're interested in knowing what's really important to me, my lyrics are where I spend the time to say it how I really mean it, be it vulnerably, cynically, ecstatically, arrogantly, or hopefully. Maybe you'll find something in my words that reflects your self and what you hold most dearly. That's the (hopeful) goal. I should note that, for the most part, this isn't poetry. I quake at the thought of having to read these words out loud. These are lyrics--they're meant to be sung and heard with all the benefits that come with adding music and a singing human voice. So, please forgive me if they're not poetically sound on their own, and perhaps understand that they could be enhanced by the trappings of song.

I'll post the lyrics with a picture of the original handwritten page--my handwriting is terrible. The typed words may often differ from the page, since I tend to edit each time I write. Plus, there are often multiple potential words or phrases written on the original sheet of each song--you'll get to see the messy machinery at work. I'll also write a brief comment after each song with a few thoughts--I won't be pulling any punches on these (or the songs, I suppose), so don't expect to find only sunshine, flowers and boy-meets-girl/boy-loses-girl in these words. The title of the blog, "Oh Well," is from a song of the same name. It's an ode to that feeling of spontaneous ecstasy you feel when you know you've got it all figured out, or at least you wish you did. It's also a potential response to the (predominant) absence of that feeling that might help us get along easier through life if we could only just shrug it off. With regards to the blog, if you're interested, great! If not, "Oh well."


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