I haven’t been inspired to write anything in a long time. I’ve sat down on so many occasions, trying to some up with something neat, and I think maybe I’ve written one riff/chord progression that might become a song at some point in the last six months. It drives me up the wall, because I used to be such a prolific writer. Of course, that was a LONG time ago (we’re talking over a decade), and before I had a family, so my life was quite different and I was not the same person then. I was lonely. I had a lot of time on my hands. Now I have almost no time on my hands, and the time I have, whenever I try to do something musical, just makes me sad because I can’t seem to come up with anything. I think my mind is suffering from a lot of “noise”. My day job isn’t inherently stressful, but I make it that way because I care far too much about it. I have a really weird focus when it comes to certain things, and my reactions to life seem sort of out of whack. I get really mad and frustrated at little things that are often out of my control, and am almost numb and emotionless when things more important to me or life in general go wrong that were in my power to shape. I haven’t been able to figure out why this is, or how to change this upside-down way I react to things, but at least I recognize it’s there, which is the first step to dealing with it.
This relates to music because this noise is drowning out creation and inspiration. There have been times when I have felt truly inspired in the last year – one day when I took the morning off I wrote a song. It came really fast and seemed really good. Now when I listen to it, it’s basically way too wordy to work, though I still LOVE the chord progression and feel. I just have to modify/rewrite the melody it to make it workable, and I haven’t been able to muster the energy to do it. I have a lot of older songs that basically need new words (the music is great), but I haven’t been able to find anything I really want to say that doesn’t sound forced or cliche. It’s kind of driving me nuts, because the words have always been EASIER than the music for me. Maybe it was just that I didn’t care as much about them then, and kind of let whatever come out come out, but it’s still frustrating. Sometimes they turned out really well (especially on the songs I wrote from 2004-2006), other times, well, I’m embarrassed to even sing them now. Considering how I feel about lyrics, and how much more important they’ve become to me as I’ve grown older, I think the combination of the aforementioned “noise of life” and my own paralyzing self-editing are crippling my creativity.
So what is the way out of this? I honestly don’t know. If you read this and have any good ideas, I’d appreciate them. But I will eventually find something that inspires me and allows me to create. I think I’ve mentioned before how much the setup and cleanliness of my studio frustrate me now. I definitely need to find a way to reorganize it so that it’s more functional. I also need to get rid of a lot of crap that lives in my garage and set up a comfortable place for have people over to jam, because I think I derive a bunch of inspiration from just jamming out ideas with people. Maybe I can put together a band and shape my existing songs, because that might inspire some writing as well. All I know is that playing in the cover band is fun and easy, and has been quite a salve for the pain of not being creative when we’ve had regular gigs. I just need to make the time to play more, get together with the guys a little more, even if we don’t have gigs, and maybe even explore some other fun musical projects with some friends with whom I haven’t yet really had the chance to work.
Thanks for reading this long message…although I doubt anyone would get this far, if you have, you’re a special person and I am grateful. I have an art show gig with Roman Holiday at the end of the month that should be fun, and hopefully a rehearsal or two before that, so things should be ramping up in that regard. We also should be booking our spring/summer shows soon, so knowing we’ve got stuff coming up will be a good cure to the winter doldrums.
It’s been really rainy the past few days, and it feels like we’re in Seattle. The upside of this is the cedar and mold pollen are pretty mellow right now, so my allergies aren’t screwing me up and making it so I can’t sing as well as I know I can. I do need to practice that more so I can improve my consistency and control, but when is that not the case? Singing is really fun. On that note, and as a followup to my last blog, I haven’t heard a peep from the Capital Suspects guys, so I’m not sure what’s up with that. I guess they don’t need me to fill in…which is okay. I hope they find someone great for their position, but I did have a lot of fun being “The Singer” for a night.
Happy New Year and all my best in 2012!