Writing music is one of my strongest passions, and should be a cathartic experience, but I’ve let it become so cumbersome.
When I first started writing guitar parts so I could play and sing, I was stringing little more than power chords and double stops together. It’s basic, it’s easy, but it’s a simplicity that allows flow. On one hand, there’s the instant gratification of being able to hear a semblance of what’s in your head almost immediately, and on the other there’s a basis from which to expand. If you know the chords, you can spice it up later.
But I let it become a chore. I made it a big deal that I had to write something new and interesting every time, something complex, unheard. The thing is, I like pop punk. I like catchy hooks and laissez-farire emotional lyrics. I always joke that most punk records don’t use more than five chords a song, and there’s some truth to that. It’s not that you shouldn’t strive for more, but you’ve got to walk to crawl. Besides, as much as I enjoy learning new things and playing more interesting guitar, I’ve never wanted to be the next Joe Satriani.
It’s so easy to cloud your creativity with all of these self-imposed restrictions, and with fear. I know half of what I write will never leave my bedroom, yet I critique it like it’s a presidential address. Sometimes a stupid lovesong is just that.
I remember my an old girlfriend and me listening to Blink 182, Starting Line, Sum 41, Offspring back when we were thirteen or fourteen. They may not be my all-time favorite bands now, but they’re what I grew up on. They’re proof that your passion and enjoyment can be contagious. Blink 182 will probably never be confused for Beethoven, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s still good music in its own right, and it still has the magic.
I don’t know what song made me fall in love with music. I’ve seen videos of me dancing around in the kitchen when I was a kid singing Brooks & Dunn songs, and I remember my parents singing me to sleep with The Beatles and church hymns. I know my first album was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, which I still have, and I still smile when I hear “Neon Moon” and “All My Loving” to this day too. As I discovered in the car today, I still know all the words to “Fat Lip” and “Rollercoaster.”
I don’t care if I’m ever anybody’s favorite musician, favorite song, or first memory. I’m relatively sure that I will never compete with The Beatles for fame, not even with Ringo… But I’d like to be that song that makes you smile when you catch a few notes years later.
I’m awful at updating this thing, so…
1. I’m getting a house! Closing is end of the month. All I have do do is put in new floors in the bedrooms and paint everything and then I can move my four pieces of furniture in. I’m kidding, it’s more like three.
2. I may be going on a date soon! But who knows. I asked a girl on a date.
Remember when you asked people out in person, and they answered right then? Yeah, that sucked.
Seriously, this shouldn’t be a big deal, but having lived in this town for several months now without meeting hardly anyone outside of work. I’m chalking it up as a win.
3. I’m seeing Brand New next month! And my family. And Arian, Ron, Kathleen, Jess… It’s gonna be a busy October. At least when all the traveling is done I can come home and, uh, move furniture and wonder why my bank statement is so low.
And on that note, time for sleep.
You were right. I knew it then, somewhere, and I know it now.
It’s been a year now, a year tomorrow in fact, and I remember wondering where I’d be a year from then, and I’d never have guessed here. I’d have never guessed I’d be a city away, be working a new job, looking for a new house.
I thought of you today, looking for flooring of all things. I’m determining what wood I want for my master bedroom, assuming I get this place (that I keep meaning to text you about) and I realized that there was a time, a year ago, that I’d have had you next to me looking. That I’d have wanted your opinion.
We always disagreed on how to make a home. Seems symbolic, doesn’t it?
But here I am. A year has passed and I’m a world away figuring life out, you’re back home with a new guy. And you have no idea how much that makes me smile. Not cause of the irony, that too maybe, but that you’re happy. I read your posts about how happy you are with him, how confident you are now, how comfortable you’re getting with yourself. I’m so proud of you, kid.
For a while I cried, then I wished it had happened sooner. For a while I thought we’d make it work, then that I’d make it work, then that I’d spent too much time working at it to have it fail. But in the end I think I’m wrong on all counts. I wouldn’t take back a single night with you, good or bad. I learned. I needed to learn, even when it hurt. And now I think you’re happy, I hope you’re happy, and when I see you next month I hope you have nothing but good stories to tell me.
And even with everything so different, so many different things making up my life than a year ago, different concerns and different victories, when I just sit back, I’m happy too.
I wandered through downtown yesterday alone. I walked what had to be miles and miles and never had a destination in mind. I used to be so restless, even just laying next to you. You used to be so anxious. I think we’re better now.
You were right. It was over. I didn’t fight.