I only started writing songs recently. My band began writing our own music about two years ago, and though I jumped right in with chord progressions and melodies, it took more time for me to venture into writing lyrics. After I’d written a few songs, I suddenly remembered that once I’d thought about majoring in creative writing. Writing wasn’t anything new; it was just a piece of me that I’d forgotten and then found, like an old letter smoothed out and re-read.
Now I can’t imagine not having songwriting to turn to. My thoughts automatically rearrange themselves into phrases, verses, choruses. Or blog posts. I type passing ideas on my cell phone and store fragments in email drafts. Over time, the pieces come together. If I’m working on a song, I’ll suddenly realize that a two-line fragment lying in an email will fit perfectly. Often a fleeting idea that I had months ago will contrast just enough with my current line of thought to set it off, adding a counterpoint that deepens the image I want to convey.
This week the turnaround was quicker. The other night I tried restlessly to fall asleep. I missed my girlfriend, who had gone to New York. I thought of a line for a song. Then I imagined a whole song sung by someone lying on their pillow, troubled, trying to sleep. Tonight, as I wandered around my room, aimlessly trying to clean up my clutter, I thought of a few more lines. I sat down at my computer and wrote in fits and starts, building the framework of the pillow song. I’ll probably work on it for a few more weeks, filling out and letting it rest, until it announces itself complete.