The last two evenings I’ve spent trying to come up with something, anything, that moved me on the piano. Nothing. I keep running into the same difficulties I’ve faced for years–everything sounds sterile and false. I don’t believe it myself.
I wrote a bunch of tunes about girls back in 2007. It was a four month period during which I was extremely prolific. I’m trying to examine what made that possible.
First, the period began directly as I rose from my little deathbed. I like to say that my brilliance came about organically, spontaneously. It didn’t. I needed money to pay off my rising debt for medication, so I signed up to one of these awful websites that creatives use as prostitution grounds, Guru.com — and agreed to write a song in the style of Elvis for god knows what, some businessman in Florida who needed it for a presentation. I did it for $100, which, after fees meant I received about $80. It was the first money I’d ever received for writing music. The next thing I composed was a piano solo–improv, as I’d done when I was younger. I recorded an elaboration of a theme from the piano solo, with lyrics about my first (and only) girlfriend. It was that piece that Nathalie loved, and she encouraged me to make another one. I did…and that was where the energy began.
That seems so simple. I wasn’t creative, and then after the strenuous process of writing three songs I was a genius. It felt like more than that. And what could I have written about this one girl I’d dated, who was pretty awful no matter how you look at it. It was perhaps firstly the desperation I felt, that my life was over and there was nothing else but the past from which to draw inspiration. Unexpectedly, I healed.
Now, I hadn’t been reading during this time. Sometimes I’d put in a few minutes here or there of some art history or a few lines of Henry Miller. I would mostly listen to CS Lewis on tape, watch a cartoon or two every night, and watch films in fifteen minute increments. I just didn’t have the ability to concentrate on things, as it was too physically painful…so most of my time was spent staring out the window from my bed. That’s not inspiring. What it leads back to is self-reflection.
But another thing, I should note, is that I also had amnesia from the medication. So it’s not like I spent all my time in deep thought over my past. The truth is that I began this blog during this period for that very reason–I was trying to do anything I could to grasp thoughts. So…I’m brought back to the only answer I’ve had. It was brought on by desperation.
And then, as soon as I healed, I did what anyone in my situation would do–chase girls and booze. And heartbreak by heartbreak I wrote songs. The music I listened to wasn’t particularly inspiring…it was mostly cute stuff. I drew out the most twisted elements of it for inspiration.
So…while I sat down convinced that perhaps the reason I’m no longer creative is because I’m uncultured, it would seem that at my most creative I mostly spent my time with cartoons, [ends here]