Mining The Past

January 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

I think, perhaps wrongly, that at some level songwriting (much like fiction and poetry) is biographical or even autobiographical. Songs, at least those with good and powerful lyrics drawn on the writer’s experience or life to some extent.

It could be something the songwriter lived through or experienced personally or simply something the writer saw or witnessed or even simply the time that he lived through. I’ve always found songwriting to be to some degree therapeutic.

That is not to say that some songs aren’t complete works of fiction. They are, but even those begin in the mind of writer as a seed pollinated by something she thought or dreamed or saw or heard.

I’ve had song ideas come to me on the basis of something my son said, even though the song itself ended up having little if anything to with him. I’ve also used episodes from my own life to create songs that end up being a mixture of a boy’s truth and an adult’s fiction (some more truth than fiction, some the other way around).

The seeds for these lyrics were the half-forgotten, time-obscured memories of a ten-year old boy. Those memories fermented in my imagination over time and were then finally committed to the page in the song below.

Three People, One Roof

A small boy, growing up in the desert
A single mother, trying to make ends meet
A young girl, already wild and reckless
And no steady hand, making the scene incomplete
The young boy finds refuge within his illusions
The mother find solace in the arms of a man
The young girl can’t wit to shake off the chains
Three people, one roof, each one with a different plan

Late at night, the boy dreams of salvation
And hopes someone will come to take his hand
The young girl dreams of shaking the dust of the desert
The mother longs for someone who’ll understand

The young boy hides what he really is feeling
The mother does her best to make it alone
The young girl tries to break free from this prison
Three people, one roof, their hearts slowly turning to stone


Late at night, the boy cries in desperation
And wonders if he’ll ever know happiness
The young girl knows she’ll die if she can’t break away
The mother wonders how she got in this mess

The young boy lives on in the heart of the grown man
The young girl still struggles to find her own way
The mother went to her grave with the knowledge
Three people, one roof, did what they could every day

© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.


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