The Mystery of Inspiration

April 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

When I’m not writing, doing chores around the house, cooking, or catching up with friends and family on Facebook, I like to sit down with a good mystery/thriller. (Ian Rankin is one of my favorites, as is the mother-son team known as Charles Todd.) Lately, I’ve been reading quite a bit of Michael Connelly.

Just last night, I finished reading Connelly’s novel The Closers, featuring one of his recurring characters, Los Angeles Police Department Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch. While reading the book, I came across several phrases that sort of stuck with me, phrases I wrote down, thinking I could use them for inspiration or turn them into something new. And that’s what I did.

When I first finished these lyrics, I looked at them and asked myself what this song is about. Most of my lyrics tend to be a bit straightforward than these, and as a result, it’s usually pretty clear what I am writing about. At first glance, that is not the case with these lyrics, not even to me.

As I re-read and thought about them, several things came to me regarding what this song is about. First, there is the perspective of time and of how time can change one’s perspective. There is also the idea of not giving up or giving in with regards to one’s dreams. Finally, there is the opposition of day and night, dark and light, but with the darkness presented as a positive force rather than a negative, as is often the case when referring to the absence of light.

I think that is perhaps enough (too much?) analysis. I quite light the overall sense of these lyrics, and I hope you will as well. The song title is taken from a chapter title in Connelly’s novel.

Darkness Always Waits

Here in the harshness of the dawn
I get the feeling that I should be moving on
To where, I really cannot say
It’s just a feeling, should be on my way

The patient moon waits for me
Her arms are open wide in sympathy
Knowing that I cannot depart
Gently, she smiles down on my heart

In the daylight, seems the road ahead of me
Is subject to the winds of fate
In the calm of night, the moon reminds me
Patience is a virtue
And gently whispers, darkness always waits

The coming dusk begins the dance
That in the music of the night sings of romance
The rustling leaves whisper to me
Of peace and hope and possibility

The graceful moon sends out her light
To help me navigate the mysteries of the night
Her fullness gently comforts me
Along a path I cannot see

In the daylight, seems the road ahead of me
Is subject to the winds of fate
In the calm of night, the moon reminds me
Patience is a virtue
And gently whispers, darkness always waits

In the calm of night, the moon reminds me
Patience is a virtue
And gently whispers, darkness always waits

© 2015 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Advancing Lyrically Into April

April 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s the start of a new month and the continuation of a recent writing spree. I’ve been very prolific, lyrically speaking, over the last week or so, writing lyrics for seven new songs and starting the lyrics for three others.

Obviously, writing at such a pace as I have recently ensures that there will be clunkers in the bunch. Still, I feel I’m writing better than at any other time in my life, and I think the prodigious output is helping me to hone whatever ability I might have.

This latest effort wasn’t really inspired by any specific event, by anything I’ve recently read, or by any specific conversation. The opening phrase just sort of came to me, and the lyrics took off from there. It was all very organic, if you will, almost stream of consciousness, which is actually how a lot of my songs comes together.

The chorus was, I think, influenced somewhat by a book I recently read, “God’s Message to the World: You’ve Got Me All Wrong,” by Neale Donald Walsch. The title, I later realized, was a bit of a play on the title of an old Carpenters hit.

I’ve Only Begun

Sometimes, I can’t find the words
To say what I mean
Or mean what I say –

Sometimes, it’s hard to be heard
Above all the noise
That gets in the way
Of finding the truth –

Exposing the lies –
Of seeing what’s hidden –
Behind the disguise –

And if I have to answer
For all that I’ve done –
I’ll just smile and say
“Excuse me, I’ve only begun” –

Sometimes, it’s hard to decide
Which way I should turn
Or where I should go –

Sometimes, it’s hard to be sure
Of just what is right
How will I know
If I was correct –
Or made a mistake –
If I touched a heart –
Or caused one to break –

And if I have to answer
For all that I’ve done –
I’ll just smile and say
“Excuse me, I’ve only begun” –

Sometimes, I wonder
If this is worth all the pain
Trying somehow to get it right
So many notions
Keep colliding in my brain
They make it hard to sleep at night

Sometimes, I think I should stop
And be satisfied
With where I am at –

Something keeps pushing me on
In search of a dream
That won’t leave me flat
Or out in the cold –
Or out in the rain –
Though trying to reach it
Might drive me insane –

And if I have to answer
For all that I’ve done –
I’ll just smile and say
“Excuse me, I’ve only begun” –

© 2015 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Never Too Old to Dream?

February 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

While checking in this morning on Facebook, I came across a post from a family member who was having a rough day. The job was taking it out of her, as she put it, “draining the life” out of her.

Work is a necessary part of life – some might say a necessary evil. However, it should never rule ones life or keep one from pursuing one’s goals or dreams.

After reading her post and some of the comments, I came up with this song. Thanks to Myscha for the inspiration.

Dream Big

She dragged herself home from another shift down at the mall
60 hours a week without that much to show
She could not remember the last time she laughed out loud
Felt that she’d hit bottom with no place to go

Looked at her reflection in the mirror
All at once, things became crystal clear
Swore to herself that come tomorrow
She would start living without fear

Work will make you old if you let it
Best thing you can do is let it go and just forget it
Tomorrow brings another chance to make a brand new start
So dream big –
And listen to your heart

He had put in 20 years with 20 more to go
All to get that gold watch at the very end
Felt like he was going through the motions day to day
No chance for redemption up around the bend

He looked at the stranger staring back at him
And wondered how he ever got so old
Knew inside that he would have to make a change
To reclaim the soul that he had sold

Work will make you old if you let it
Best thing you can do is let it go and just forget it
Tomorrow brings another chance to make a brand new start
So dream big –
And listen to your heart

(instrumental:)

Dreams are the fire that burns inside us
Get us through each day and help to guide us
They are the wings that help each of us to fly
Once the dreams stop you begin to die

Work will make you old if you let it
Best thing you can do is let it go and just forget it
Tomorrow brings another chance to make a brand new start
So dream big –
And listen to your heart

© 2015 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Feeling Prolific

October 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’ve been on a writing spree lately. Just yesterday, I finished up three sets of lyrics. This one-day proliferation was inspired by a Sunday afternoon outdoor concert featuring singer-songwriters from the Idaho Songwriters Association. One performance in particular, that of Rebecca Scott and Debbie Sager, who sang harmonies with Rebecca. That performance inspired the following lyrics, which go out to backup singers everywhere.

The Other Voice

She lives for Friday nights
Up there under the lights
Even though she’s not the one
They come to see

The music fills the room
Chases away the gloom
And for an hour or two
She’s truly free

Never meant to reach the heights
She sings a few bars here and there
Each Friday night
Perhaps if she had had the choice
She’d choose to be more than
The other voice

She waits there in the wings
Until she finally sings
A line or two
In two-part harmony

She’ll never be the star
She knows she won’t go far
Her name in lights
Was never meant to be

At night she writes songs
She will never sing
They’ll sit upon a shelf
And gather dust
One day she’ll take them down
And shed a tear
For the dream she had
Now turned to rust

Another Friday night
That’s when she’s feeling right
The closest she’ll get
To what might have been

And when the music’s done
No moment in the sun
But next week
She will do it all again

Never meant to reach the heights
She sings a few bars here and there
Each Friday night
Perhaps if she had had the choice
She’d choose to be more than
The other voice

But there was never any choice
For her to be more than
The other voice

© 2014 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

The Roundabout Path of Inspiration

October 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Even though I have been writing (lyrics, mostly) for several decades, I still marvel at how some of my ideas come to me and the path my imagination will take once the initial idea is born.

Take for instance the lyrics I am about to share. The initial inspiration came from a dream I had a few nights back about a friend and former colleague from my broadcasting days. While we were never romantically involved and, in fact, never dated, I don’t know of any songs about former co-workers. So my imagination took the initial seed of the dream and turned it into a lament over love lost years ago and only remembered now in dreams.

If I had to classify this, I guess I’d call it modern country.

(Last Night) I Dreamed About You

Last night, I dreamed about you
We were together again
Just like when we were younger
Doing all the things we did then
Laughing and holding hands
Talking and making plans
I still don’t understand
Why you had to go

Last night, I dreamed about you
You hadn’t changed at all
Just like when I first saw you
I couldn’t help but fall
Girl, you controlled my heart
Right from the very start
Then tore it all apart
When you had to go

Why does love sometimes hurt so much?
I shiver at the memory of your touch
Years later, I still can see your face
The thought of you
I can’t erase

(instrumental:)

Why does love sometimes hurt so much?
I shiver at the memory of your touch
Years later, I still can see your face
The thought of you
I can’t erase

Last night, I dreamed about you
We were together again
But in the morning when I woke
The dream came to an end
Guess I should say goodbye
I’ve no more tears to cry
But still I wonder why
You had to go

Guess I’ll never know . . .

© 2014 Walt Huntsman. All Rights Reserved.

The Technicolor Sky

August 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

On the way into work this morning, I saw a fragment of a rainbow. I say fragment because it was almost a straight line that seemed to begin in midair and end there as well. That fragment inspired this fragment.

Rainbows (a Poetic Fragment)

Multi-hued
Celestial shaft
God’s hand reaching down
The calm after the storm.
Heavenly smile
Comforting the frightened child
Reassuring
That all is well.
As anger dissipates
And gray once more returns to blue
Buoyant technicolor fragment
Erases hopeless sky of black and white.

© 2014 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Some Like It Hot

July 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

One never knows from where inspiration will come. Almost 30 years ago, The Power Station released its biggest hit “Some Like It Hot”. I was reminded of that song while thinking back on this past Fourth of July weekend, a weekend where temperatures in our part of the country reached triple digits. I don’t mind it hot, but I don’t like it that hot.

In addition to the hot weather, the weekend produced one other thing – the song lyrics below, directly inspired by the heat. As envisioned when writing the lyrics, the song has a bit of a Latin flavor (I guess) with some accentuating horns and alternates between a slightly more up-tempo rhythm and a slightly slower beat, all a bit staggered, hinting at syncopation.

This Hot Summer Night

Feel the heat –
Coming off the street
You start to sweat –
But the worst ain’t over yet
Despite your pleas –
This heat will bring you to your knees
And there’s no relief in sight
From this hot summer night –

105 in the shade and the temperature’s rising
Everyone’s ‘bout to explode and it isn’t surprising
Hard to stay cool –
Out in the street –
Feels like the concrete is melting under your feet

(instrumental:)

There’s no escape –
You’re burning inside –
Feels like you’re headed to Hell – like you’ve already died

Feel the heat –
Coming off the street
You start to sweat –
But the worst ain’t over yet
Despite your pleas –
This heat will bring you to your knees
And there’s no relief in sight
From this hot summer night –

Mercury’s rising and there’s not a breeze to be found
There’s no reprieve from the heat – feel the sun beating down
Nowhere to run –
No end in sight –
Hoping somehow you can make it through this sweltering night

Feel the heat –
Coming off the street
You start to sweat –
But the worst ain’t over yet
Despite your pleas –
This heat will bring you to your knees
And there’s no relief in sight
From this hot summer night –

(Repeat:)
(Music out:)

© 2014 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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