Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In Transit

When I was looking at the NY Times online the other day, I saw this music blog they started a few weeks ago. It's written by some well-respected songwriters: Roseanne Cash, Suzanne Vega, Andrew Bird and another more kind of professional songwriting guy whose name I can't remember. They take turns each week writing about songwriting and creativity and a few years ago it would have really interested me. But reading it now I just felt kind of disconnected from it all. There was a time when I lived in New York and songs came to me at all times of the day and night and I couldn't stop writing. It was imperative that I wrote those songs and then just as important to get out and play them for people. I don't know what motivated me, but I just had to do it. Then I lived in Nashville and had a publishing deal and did the writing and the co-writing and I feel really proud of the songs I've written, on my own and with other people. Well, most of them anyway.

But the truth is I've only written about 5 songs in the last two or three years. After calling myself a songwriter for years, I'm not sure if I really qualify anymore. I hope I'm moving into some other classification now, or possibly just back to the all-encompassing "artist"? Luckily I've had this album to work on with Eric for the past year. Maybe I only came up with the number of songs I needed to, or else I'd be doing that classic "covers" album that so many people resort to when they hit the wall.

As I write this Eric's finishing up the last mix (and he apologizes to everyone who loves reading his site, including me, because he has done a huge amount of work on this record and hasn't had time for diary writing). Then we're getting in the car to go to England for a few weeks - I'll try to keep writing here. I can't believe how important the blog has become to me, as a way to stay connected. Am I taking my creative energy and putting it all here? I don't know why that would feel more satisfying than picking up the guitar or sitting at the piano (my new love) but for the moment it does.

We're both nervous and excited about our first album together. It's like having a new group or something. We find ourselves in the position of asking people to book our band. But the alternative feels sort of like those uninteresting (to me, anyway) entries about the unexplainable act of songwriting.

Sometimes it feels like starting over, after twenty(cough) years as a musician. Maybe that's what I am? It's a little nerve-wracking, this being in transit.

4 comments:

Rosie said...

I know just what you mean Amy. I'm not sure whether my blog soaks up or stokes up all my creative energy. I'm still putting a lot of effort into trying to finish my book and blogging is a bit like limbering up. Then I feel guilty cos the harmonium has been neglected for three whole days...and the piano has dust on it. But we cant do everything at once can we?

mahatma kane jeeves said...

hi amy - i've been reading this for a bit now - a rare blog indeed that you keep coming back to - always interesting. congrats on getting married - looks like she didn't live in tahiti after all :)

Le Tigre in France said...

I haven't written a song in 2 years either...it's really starting to frustrate me so I barely pick up the guitar anymore..it sort of becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

I think overtime artists change the way they work, if you wrote all the time you'd be burnt out. I know Pj Harvey has talked about the fact that between albums she's not writing at all and everytime she freaks out because she thinks she'll never be able to write again, but it's kind of like she's in hibernation...

I look forward to hearing the new album.

travelling, but not in love said...

I'm looking forward to hearing how the album goes.

And I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on England and the English in 2008.....