The River's Badge

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Just Completed A Songwriter Survey


I'd completely forgotten that I had completed a songwriter's survey back in 2009.  It was called a "songwriting, health and well-being" survey, conducted by somebody with a "Dr." in front of his name in Hertfordshire, UK.

Interestingly, one of my very first "fake CD's: was this:

So, I apparently have a kinship with this doctor ~ doctor of psychology, I might add.


This week, I received a follow-up email, asking for my participation once again.


So, I said, okay, I'm bored.  Let's take a look at this.


The survey began by asking if I'd had any life-changing events in the past couple of years.


Yes.


Then it went on to list a bunch of medical conditions, and asked how severely I suffered from any of them (in the past month).

I'm not entirely sure what that has to do with songwriting, but I did tell him about my allergies.

One of the questions was in regard to "irritability".  Well, who doesn't have that??  I have that at least once a day!  I don't necessarily think that's a medical condition.  I just think it's a byproduct of living in this world.


For example, I had a severe bout of irritability on Friday, when our system went down for three freakin' hours at work.


In fact, I was so irritable, I made a video cartoon of the whole situation:



The IS Guy
by: MichelleAnd



So, Dr. Mindbender, don't blame me for my irritability.  But take it for what it's worth.  I don't think I've written any irritable songs, ever, because that would just irritate me, and why would I want to irritate myself?  That would take all the fun out of writing (which isn't all that much fun to begin with).

But, it's all hocus-pocus, I'm sure.  I'm sure that the good doctor can somehow connect the dots of my song lyrics with some sort of malady that I am apparently suffering from.  Although, again, an allergic rash cannot really account for any of the songs I've written.  That I know of.

The survey also asked questions about "how I feel about myself".  Am I hyper-critical?  Well, yea!  Do I call myself names?  If "idiot" and "imbecile" are names, yes.  Doesn't everybody do that?  At least when they completely screw something up?  That seems normal to me.

Not that I want to "cut myself", as one of the questions asked.  I'm not insane.  I'm just your normal, average, insecure person.  And being the practical gal that I am, I wouldn't want to have to clean up the mess, frankly.


Do I "crave close relationships, but not trust that people will be there for me?"  Oh, blah blah blah.  I'm not nineteen.  I think I can pretty much handle whatever happens to come my way, at this point in my life.  If not, I think I need to go back and start over.


Do I "like myself"?  Well, sure.  I like myself okay.  I'm used to myself.  I don't really have any other frame of reference.  I've lived with myself for fifty-six-and-three-fourths years, so, yes, I'm comfortable.  I'm really kind of over that whole "examine one's life" sort of thing, for the most part.  I strive to be a better person, yes, but I've had a long time to get used to myself, and changes, if any miraculously occur, will be minimal.

The last part of the survey, however, was sort of fun.  It asked me to paste 10 song lyrics that I'd written since I'd completed the survey in 2009.

I honestly don't keep track anymore, so I had to exclude some of my better lyrics, because I had apparently written them before the cutoff, although they seem relatively new to me, so I'm either in a time warp or I'm suffering from some sort of song amnesia.

And, to make matters worse, the songs I wrote for FAWM in 2010, I never transferred to a word doc.  They're all handwritten in a spiral notebook.


The survey asked how many songs I'd written since 2009, and I guesstimated 40, which is pretty good, considering that I haven't written a song in over a year.


So, I kind of scanned my song lyrics, to narrow my choices down to 10, and I found that I had a bunch of good ones.  Too bad the actual songs aren't that good.  But the lyrics are grand-ish.

Being mindful of that fact that this was a psychologist asking the questions, I looked for some kind of hidden motivation or irritability....in my lyrics.

Granted, the majority of my lyrics are either wistful or sad, but aren't most songs??  I mean, how many happy songs does one hear anyway?  Other than "Walkin' On Sunshine"?





But it was still kind of fun to look back, and, it's not an MMPI test, but I get what the guy (sorry, doctor) is looking for.  Some sort of window into the soul, or the psyche.

I ended up including about eight sad songs, and two happy ones.  That seems about right.

Here's a sad one:

ICE STORMS

There's an ice storm
Gettin' close, they say
You better get on in
This cold don't look
Like it will subside

Lock your windows
Latch the door behind
It creeps in silently
It gets into your bones
Into your mind

Ice storms, quiet storms
Crackin' hearts in two
Ice storms don't warn
Look out for me and you

You can see it
Through the window panes
When they leave their shades undrawn
They didn't see the chill
'Til it came on

As he sits there
Starin' silently
While she hides away upstairs
They wonder if they ever even cared

Ice storms, quiet storms
Crackin' hearts in two
Ice storms don't warn
Look out for me and you

Pull the covers over, babe
We're gonna keep us warm
Stay inside and we'll be fine
We can fight the storm
We can fight the storm

Ice storms, quiet storms
Crackin' hearts in two
Ice storms don't warn
Look out for me and you

Look out for me and you


©  MICHELLE ANDERSON  2010




Here's a happy one:



WASTIN' MY TIME AWAY

Tall lemonade
In the shade of the tree
No one around
‘Cept the birds and me
It’s a cool, cool day
Wastin’ my time away

Puffy white clouds
On a pallet of blue
Conspire with me
For a daydream or two
It’s a cool, cool day
Wastin’ my time away

Everybody says
You gotta do somethin’
I know that’s not true
If somethin’ means nothin’
I’m on board
Cuz that’s what I’m gonna do

The bees go about
Their work silently
I don’t bother them
They don’t bother with me
We’re sharin’ the flowers
While I’m wasting my time away

Everybody says
You must do somethin’
I know that’s not true
If somethin’ means nothin’
Then I’m on board
And that’s what I’m gonna do

The sun’s wavin’’ goodbye
On an orange halo
I think I’ll linger awhile
I’m not ready to go
It’s been a perfect day
Wastin’ my time away

© MICHELLE ANDERSON  1-23-10

I think the motivation, oftentimes, for a songwriter, is to write in the present.   And if I am sad, wistful, or if I am irritable, what better way to vent than in a song?  It's not that I don't write some happy songs, but, frankly, those are written out of either boredom or desperation, or out of the effects of a couple of drinks.

For the record, I was feeling sort of lazy, so I didn't do an in-depth analysis of the best all-time lyrics that I ever wrote.  I tend to go by "feel", because you know those artistic folks.  They don't actually "think".  They just "feel".  But these felt right.

NOTE:  Feel free to stop reading here.  I'm mainly including these other eight songs, because I never actually transcribed the lyrics anywhere, and I kinda would like to have access to them.

Here are the other eight.  The recordings are horrible.  One must possess the patience of a saint to actually listen to them. 

A THOUSAND TOWNS



I feel like I’m lost
In a thousand towns
Where nobody wants to know my name
Hard as I knock
The doors hold their locks
And it keeps getting’ colder every day

I said your sign says friendly town
They said, that means to each other
The shades are drawn, I don’t belong
I guess I’ll move along

It’s time to right what’s turned out to be wrong

I feel like I’m lost
In a thousand towns
Where nobody wants to know my name
Hard as I knock
The doors hold their locks
It’s time to start all over again

My bag never was unpacked
That simplifies the goin’
I’d say my goodbyes
But no one’s here to tell
I won’t forget this little slice of hell

I feel like I’m lost
In a thousand towns
Where nobody wants to know my name
Don’t change your locks
I’m not gonna knock
You won’t have to see me again

©  Michelle Anderson  2010


WANDERIN' AROUND HEAD SPINNIN' 'ROUND BLUES




It’s two o’clock
And I’m still awake
And I don’t know why
I’m up so late
I got the wanderin’ around
Head spinnin’ ‘round blues

I’m gonna hate myself
When it’s five a.m.
And I’m blurrin’ the lines
Between live and dead
Sure hate those wanderin’ around
Head spinnin’ around blues

I blame you
It’s almost three
You don’t what
What you’re doin’ to me

It’s time for me
To go to bed
I gotta get you
Outta my head
I got the wanderin’ around
Head spinnin’ ‘round blues

I blame you
Cuz now it’s four
I just can take
This anymore

Nighty night
It’ll be a short night’s sleep
It’s not even worth
Botherin’ the sheep
I got the wanderin’ around
Head spinnin’ ‘round blues

Wanderin’ around
Head spinnin’ ‘round blues


© MICHELLE ANDERSON 2010
 

BROKEN HEARTS



Hearts
Broken hearts
Missing parts
Feels undone

Gray
Muddy skies
Empty eyes
See no one

Songs
Never sung
Never begun
When you’re only one

Turn away from hope
It’s fadin’
Can’t go on like this
Much more

Lies
Tell yourself lies
Say it’s all right
To be on your own

Hurts
Cold dark hurts
Dreams desert
And you’re all alone

© MICHELLE ANDERSON  2010

RUNDOWN TOWN (Yes, I like "towns")



Things never change
In this rundown town
Except it gets more
Run down

People disappear
And they never come back
And the store windows
Are black

They say why you don’t you go
I say hell if I know
Is it any better someplace else

The devil that you know
Might not give a real good show
But I’ve determined life
Is just like that

I walk down the streets
Of this rundown town
I can close my eyes
And know the way

From time to time somebody goes
Leaves little curios behind
I pick them up  
And haul them away

They say why don’t you go
I say hell if I know
It don’t feel like this is my day  

The cracks are getting deeper
And my bones startin’ to moan
But I’ve determined life
Is just that way

©  Michelle Anderson  08-19-11

SILENT ALONE



Words can hurt
Silence costs
You’re lost in anger
I'm just lost

Another day
Another ride
Too lonely, too hurt
To even cry

Can’t say
I’ve stopped trying
I still need to understand
Futility
Doesn’t matter
To an unclasped hand

Tomorrow
You just might
Say that you love me
But tonight

Chalk up the day
I’ll be a stone
You don’t want me
I’ll leave you alone

Can’t say
I’ve stopped trying
I still need to understand
Futility
Doesn’t matter
To an unclasped hand

I’ve done something
I don’t know
Does it matter
I’ll fall asleep alone

Words hurt
Silence costs
I’m feeling
Feeling so lost

© Michelle Anderson 02-18-11


ALONE WITH YOU



There’s a place I want to take you
Tonight, somewhere so quiet
Away from the house, past the windbreak trees
Nobody knows this place but me

Hold my hand, I’ll guide you
Through the low-hanging branches
That long ago stepped back, a path
They made for nights like this

Stars tumble from an envelope of sky
A blackbird tilts across the moon
I can be anything at all here
Somehow I always knew
What I’d choose to be is
Alone with you

The breeze brushes across your face
Enough to blow the stars in
In the fields lying fallow
Our bare feet kiss the ground

Nestled by this cottonwood
Is a clutch of red wildflowers
Would you mind if I picked
This one for you

As the stars tumble from an envelope of sky
A blackbird tilts across the moon
I can be anything at all here
Somehow I always knew
What I’d choose to be is
Alone with you

No one has ever seen it
Quite like this
All I'm needin’ now
Is your soft kiss

Stars tumble from an envelope of sky
A blackbird tilts across the moon
I can be anything at all here
Somehow I always knew
What I’d choose to be is
Alone with you

© Michelle Anderson 02-19-11


MY BEST FRIEND



 My best friend has gone away
I wonder where she is
I wonder if she’s singin’ out
Like she always did

Road tales, imposed travails
Intersecting lines
But now she left with no farewell
And I’m cryin’ why

Yesterday I saw
Somethin’ that made me laugh
Then I looked around and realized
Nobody else would understand

My best friend’s still dancin’ ‘round
It’s just with someone else
She’s prob’ly laughin’ at me now
Knowin’ she’ll see me again

But I miss her

© MICHELLE ANDERSON  2010


DARK PRAIRIE NIGHTS



I rolled with you down that road
A hundred miles ago
As we grazed that prairie sky

Songs would fade to static there
The sky it was so dark
And we traced the midnight line

All those years I was your biggest fan
But maybe now it’s time to say goodnight
It hurts to hold on endlessly
Even after all these years I still can’t smile

You left your guitar just lying there
No one dared pick it up
So I thought maybe I would

No stones, no thrones, just flesh and bone
And livin’ for a song
Capturing time when it was good

All those years I was your biggest fan
But the pain, it never goes away
I can’t go on like this endlessly
Maybe we should decide to say goodbye

They can say they knew you well, all right
But you and I both know
How the stars glowed on those dark prairie nights

©  Michelle Anderson  2010


It was fun, I admit, to look back.  It almost makes me want to write again.  Almost.

And if I was to psychoanalyze myself, I would say, well, she's a syrupy sentimentalist, with underlying feelings of rejection,  She tends to dwell on the dark side of relationships; yet, she has an optimist's eye for the healing power of nature.

And she's lazy.

Ta-DA!!
































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