Write What You Know? No!

August 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

I can’t point to specific voices, articles, or websites, but it seems I have through the years often come across the following writing advice – write what you know. I think I go against that advice more often than not. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t write very much or very often.

Truth be told, I don’t really “know” that much. I have bits and pieces of information and half-formed ideas on any number of subjects, but I don’t really write what I know. Instead, I write what I feel, what I think, what I wish, etc. Sometimes, I write from a place of total imagination.

For instance, I have never been walked out on or been cheated on by a lover. Yet my imagination has often gone into that personally unknown realm to find material for my lyrics. (Perhaps I’m still trying to channel my inner Leonard Cohen.) The following lyrics, offered up for your consideration, are yet another example.

Another Trophy

Feel like I’m stranded in the desert
And girl, it’s getting so damn hot
After what you did to me
I feel as if I had been shot
Your silver bullet went right through me
I never really stood a chance
I never even saw the gun –
I guess a single night of fun
Is what passes for romance

And now, I’m looking for some Good Samaritan
To come and save me from myself
Before my heart is lost forever
Just another trophy on your shelf

Feel like I’m lost out on the ocean
Nobody else for miles around
After what you put me through
Not sure that I want to be found
Perhaps you didn’t try to hurt me
It just came naturally to you
But somehow, somewhere in the night
Our love became some sort of fight
There was nothing I could do

You thought that you could change me
And makeover my heart
Till I no longer recognized myself
That’s when it all fell apart

Feel like I’m sitting here in limbo
And I don’t know which way to go
I could stay or cut my losses
There’s trouble either way, I know
I could try and take the high road
And find I’m skating on thin ice
Or I could stay and fight it out
Although I’d lose, I have no doubt
Either way, I’ll pay a price

And now, I’m looking for some Good Samaritan
To come and save me from myself
Before my heart is lost forever
Just another trophy on your shelf

The battle’s lost, I’ll pay the cost
And lose myself
Content to be another trophy
On your shelf
Content to be another trophy
On your shelf

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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Rainy Days At The Beach

August 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

My niece and her family decided to spend the last few days of their summer break at the beach along the Gulf of Mexico. You know, sunshine, white sand, dark tans. Except, it rained for most of their stay.

She asked if there was a song about rainy days at the beach. My wife and I weren’t aware of any, so I decided to write one. My niece said it needed to mention movies, naps, and balcony views. I think I came close, anyway. So here you go, Eva.

Getting Wet

Sitting in my hotel room
Watching movies and just killing time
It’s raining while I’m here at the beach
That ought to be a crime

Sipping margaritas on my balcony
Isn’t quite the same
As laying in the sand, working on my tan
Guess Mother Nature’s to blame

A week down here at the ocean
Seemed to me to be the perfect plan
I guess my travel agent forgot
To talk to the weatherman

I see the red flags from my hotel room
Nothing else to do
But lay here in bed getting room service fed
And wait for gray skies to turn blue

I’d love to walk on the beach
And dip my toes in the sand
But getting stuck in the mud
Isn’t quite what I planned
So I just sit and wait
For the wind and rain to subside
And wonder just how much longer
I’ll be stuck inside

If I wanted to be out in the rain
I’d have picked someplace else on the map
Instead, I’m left to choose between
Another drink or another nap

Somewhere, I’m sure people are having fun
I’m just getting wet
Once this week without sun is over and done
It’s a trip I’ll try to forget

Sitting here on my balcony
Drinking margaritas like they were free
That’s the only way I’m getting wet
Drinking to forget

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Collaboration, Family, and All-Round Busyness

August 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

I have for the last few days realized that it has been some time since my last entry. My apologies. July was a very busy month for a number of good reasons.

Among other things, July included a camping trip, three paid gigs (yay!), and a week-long trip to visit with family and make new friends.

The trip itself ended up being more than I could have hoped for. As a family, we got to explore a few things in Portland and try out some new places to eat. From a writing standpoint, I was able to do something I had never really done before – co-write a song.

During our visit, we were able to perform with Jerry J. Thomas, a country singer-songwriter from Tennessee. In the process, he also shared the start of a song he was working on and gave it to us to run with.

I took the verse and melody Jerry shared and let it marinate for a couple of days after our return home. Then the Muse came and gave me some additional verses to round out the song, which I then sent back to Jerry for his thoughts. We’ll see where it goes from here, but the process was definitely fun and one I’d try again if given the chance.

Because the song is not mine alone, I don’t feel I can share it here. Instead, I’ll share a song born of a different sort of collaboration.

Recently, I watched a documentary/performance film about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. During the film, I listened to the way he sang, the way he phrased, and the way he structured his lyrics. Afterwards, he “gave” me the idea for a song.

One of the things I like about this song it that it can be read and sung as if it is about the end of a love affair, a marriage, or even a friendship. The person I thought about while writing it was my father, who left home when I was five, never to return.

I’m not sure if this song has a genre. It is almost war chant-like in its melody and structure, which makes it a little like an earlier song, “State Of Mind.” The difference is that this one is intended to have a bit more instrumentation, though not much more.

One Day

One day here – the next day gone
I didn’t know that you were moving on
Was it just a change of heart
That in the end drew us apart?

One day you just disappeared
Never something that I feared
It wasn’t till you were gone
I learned that sometimes people just move on

I can sit and wonder why
But I’m not even gonna try
I know I’ll never understand
Why one day life just changed the plan

One day I was left alone
It weighed me down just like a stone
Wonder what I might have done
But something died, and you held the gun

You changed direction, and I didn’t see
That now your journey would continue without me
Now there’s a space I cannot fill
Since you’re not coming back, I doubt I ever will

One day here – the next day gone
I didn’t know that you were moving on
Was it just a change of heart
That in the end drew us apart?

One day I turned and you’d moved along

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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