If I could start recording my voice at any given moment simply by pressing a single, easily accessible button, I might have recorded dozens, if not hundreds, of songs by now. Only the lyrics, of course, with no musical accompaniment and only sung to imperfect tunes in need of professional attention.
I tend to make up lyrics “on the fly” while I’m alone in the car, belting them out as if my voice were worthy of being heard. Unlike my poetry, which usually is free-form narrative paying no attention to rhyme, my songs have structure and rhyme. Some of them seem, to me, pretty good. Unfortunately, though, because the single, easily accessible button is not available, my music disappears into the vapor. Try as I might, neither the words nor the nascent tunes stick with me. By the time the opportunity arrives to write down the lyrics or record the song, the empty air of the universe has consumed them. They are gone, released into the atmosphere.
Sometimes, weeks or months later, I hear those same songs, upgraded professionally by musicians who hire sound engineers to mix lyrics with instrumentals and background vocals. My songs, the ones I created on the fly in my car, flew through the vapor and landed in someone else’s brain. I’m at once angry and proud. I should feel only gratitude, but my ego trips me up on occasion. There’s nothing I can do about it after the fact, so I just let it slide. What else could I do?
I’m actually a much better lyricist than I am a spoken-word poet, I think. My spoken word poetry is sometimes too complex to be understood in one reading; those poems require intellectual effort, whereas my song lyrics require only ears and an interest in being entertained. Well, my lyrics more often than not do carry messages—sometimes powerful, emotion-laden messages capable of drawing tears out of dry eyes—but they are not hard to follow. Their stories are clear and unambiguous, though the language I use can be intentionally ambiguous; but in a humorous way, usually.
This post is my best effort at painting myself in a good mood today. The reality is different. But I won’t go into that for the moment. I’ll just stop writing for public consumption and, instead, turn to writing my private thoughts in my private journal.