The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #31433   Message #409750
Posted By: mousethief
02-Mar-01 - 03:52 PM
Thread Name: HOW do you write your songs?
Subject: RE: BS: HOW do you write your songs?
Something bubbles up from that unnameable place that says "hey! I'm a song!" -- usually it isn't; usually it's just a chunk of a song, and I have to write the rest. Sometimes it's the whole thing. Sometimes I sit down with my guitar and say, "I'm gonna write a song." Then sometimes something happens, and sometimes it doesn't.

On these songs for the Challenge!s, I read the story Aine posts, and then some phrase in the story, or some phrase I piece together from reading the story, tickles something in my brain, and that something is some old song that the phrase fits nicely into. Then I craft together the rest, and if I'm lucky, something funny results.

I know why people talk about having a "muse" -- some stuff that bubbles up is so well-formed, and so complex, and I know I didn't exert any work to create it, and you think, "well, it had to come from SOMEwhere..." -- so you call that "somewhere" the Muse. And that somewhere becomes a someone, and a someone with a very capricious sense of humor at times. I don't fully believe in the existence of a Muse that feeds me chunks of poetry, but I can't say I fully disbelieve, either. A cranky old gal sometimes, but the more I feed her, the better work she does for me.

This entire stanza from a poem (I haven't written music for it yet) popped into my brain completely intact and without precedent, on the night of Nov 11, 1987, just as I was drifting off to sleep:

I'd love to stay and argue but I haven't got the time
Why do you think these courtesans are waiting in my mind?
They're waiting for the night to fall and sleep to coat my brain
It's there they paint the dreamscape where they dance and entertain

("Night Court" copyright 1987 Alex Riggle; all rights reserved)

The rest of the poem followed, albeit in smaller chunks, within the space of a half-hour. Freaky.

How do I write songs? Um, I have no idea.

Alex