MY FOUR LEGGED MUSE

Sunday, Apr 21 @ 2:04 PM

I read an article/interview of Willie Nelson where he described that a lot of his songs come to him while he’s driving his truck. He went on to say that if he couldn’t remember the song by the time he got wherever he was going, it wasn’t worth keeping. I can related to a degree: I’ve had some good songs come to me while driving, and it’s one of the reasons I occasionally make a deliberate choice to leave the radio off and dwell in silence. The silence is relative. There can often be all manner of thoughts bouncing about in my head, and some of them very creative, if I only pay attention to them. Swimming is another such outlet for me. I have friends who think that swimming laps must be terribly boring, but often while I am swimming, I am going through melodies, lyric ideas, or plots for stories, or even just the next class lecture or test I have to design for my students (to be fair, the melodies and lyric ideas are usually more interesting and where my mind is more wont to go). But the most consistent source of ideas these days is walking around Lake Arbor with Rufus. Rufus is my personal trainer and my muse. Yesterday, while walking around the lake, I was singing some of the more recent songs I’d written (came up with a new verse for one, which will likely entail re-recording the guitar and vocal tracks I laid down over the last couple of weeks), when I suddenly and spontaneously started singing something altogether new. By the time we got home, I had the chorus for a new song worked out. Earlier today, Rufus and I were once again walking around the lake, and this time I came up with what I believe will be the first verse. At this rate, it may take a few more days of walking around the lake to get the rest of the song, but I am willing to work with the process. Of course, now I am getting ready to head to the gym and swim some laps, so who knows? I suppose the bottom line for me is that the best cure for any supposed writer’s block is giving yourself the chance to just be alone with your thoughts. Cut the outer distractions down to a minimum and see what emerges. Oh, and I think it helps to get a dog (preferably a mutt from a rescue shelter, based on personal experience).

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