Well friends it’s been a busy year. I’ve been trying to write my book, and fortunately I’ve been able to do more than just try. I’ve actually finished my first manuscript. Yea man, in between the extremes of do or do not, I’ve opted for the positive. Yoda would be happy.
The songs are coming back to me too. I’ve always hesitated in talking even a little bit about the music–like what inspires it and what goes on behind the scenes, that sort of thing–because it always made me uncomfortable. I figured it wasn’t something a musician did since a person’s work ought to speak for itself.
That second part might be true, but the first certainly isn’t, since it turns out plenty of people are more than willing to open up about their work. I’m only going to talk about it now because I feel like I should, and besides, the only thing musicians seem to have in common with eachother anyway is a steadfast devotion to whatever they’re thinking and feeling at the time, to those ideas swimming around like fish in an ocean–or in a river, to use my own favorite visual.
I’ve talked about the river before, and I suspect it’ll come up a few times more, since the songs always come from the river.
Put it this way, there’s a reason all those musical cities of America and Europe lie by the river: New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, Nashville and New York…not to mention Vienna, Salzburg, Bonn, Prague and Budapest. I digress.
Concept art for ‘I Can’t Be Seen’.
Last month, in October, I released my first piece of music since my debut album, which was almost three years ago. The single is called ‘I Can’t Be Seen’, and though I didn’t realize it until the song was finished and I allowed myself the time to think about it more from the outside looking in, it’s a song that largely touches upon that three year hiatus.
After I finished the first album I got in my own head and stayed there for a long time, which manifested into a doubt fierce enough to lead me straight into the weird beginnings of depression and loneliness, feelings I never thought I’d experience. But then again, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.
For one thing, it can be a lonesome experience inhabiting your own universe full of characters and melodies and voices that no one else knows or has heard at all; and if you dwell too long in the uncertainty and solitude of it, well, then you can begin to curse it—or worse, anything on the outside of it.
That’s when things get ugly.
The feeling is one of nobody understanding or caring, coupled together with a crippling fear of rejection and ridicule. These are tricks of the mind, aggravated only by second-guessing yourself at every turn. Demons take shape. The voices of ghosts you thought long-gone.
It creates a sudden feeling of wanting to be invisible. A deep, near primal urge to not be seen. Your mind is so full of doubt that you feel damn-near unclean. I must not be seen, you tell yourself. I can’t be seen.
And so, avoiding all possible contact is the only way to ensure that you don’t say or end up doing something that you might one day regret. You just need to get away.
I knew I needed to get away, and from there, I wasn’t sure where I need to go, though sure enough, I frequently ended up by the river–both in my head and geographically.
Many of the songs you’ll hear in the next few weeks and months touch upon these feelings, themes of returning, of coming back to something you used to know from another time not long ago, as you learn to find solace in the darkness.
You might even hear the sound of the river, still unseen and yet never too far, as you keep your head down and you keep moving. The road, the river, dark as ever, still beckon, and as long as you have your own two feet and you keep breathing, you can piece together all the things you forgot, and slowly begin to remember everything all over again.