Week 469 // Wait the Weather Out

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I think the cold is alright
It turns up and turns tail again
The sun is out
I’m heading out again
But I’ll be back soon

I’m alone on my block
Folks are shut in
Guess that’s up to them
Folks are shut off
Picked apart again
But they’ll be back soon

Wait this moment out
Stand the test of time
Wait the weather out
Stand the test of time
Wait the hour out
Stand the test of time
Time

All the way to the ocean
Looking out at the open sky
Looking up as the clouds go by
And we’ll be there soon

Wait this moment out
Stand the test of time
Wait the weather out
Stand the test of time
Wait the hour out
Stand the test of time
Time

Notes
This week’s song is about patience. Many times in my life when I’ve faced a difficult moment, somebody has told me that it won’t be forever. That has always proven to be true one way or another.

Another thing that helps me is to recognize the complexity of the interiority of others. When the inside of my head gets a little bit loud, I quiet it by walking. While I’m walking, I look at all the windows of the apartments that line my block, and I try to remember that each holds a story as rich and unknowable as the last, and that every person in every window is living through something all their own. It’s beautiful and bewildering to count the stories hiding away on my block. It makes me feel like part of the human race.

The other thing that helps me out is to seek out nature, because nature is the best.

~M.E.

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Week 468 // Future

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Oh the future waits
And the sunrise waits for you
Oh tomorrow is wide wide place
And getting there is well worth getting through

Oh the future waits
And the sunrise waits for you
Oh tomorrow is wide wide place
And getting there is well worth getting through

Oh the future waits
And the sunrise waits for you
Oh tomorrow is wide wide place
And getting there is well worth getting through

Notes
It’s been a hard fall, a fact that I’ve been told is evident in the songs I’ve been writing. Part of this project is publicly airing my feelings. Even when I’m not specific about context, I know that friends and family can read me.

Today I’m working on my outlook, both in this song and in real life. That’s not to say that everything gets easier right away, but I’m ever hopeful, which can sometimes be lost in my songs. This isn’t a brilliant song, but it’s a nice one. I wanted to write something optimistic, something encouraging, something a little bit buoyant in an effort to bolster hope in my own heart, and perhaps in the hearts of other people if they happen to hear it.

One thing that helps me is to go out and find something beautiful in the world. That’s an easy thing to do in autumn, even in New York. Here’s a photo of the most beautiful tree in Prospect park. Yesterday, I went there and checked them all. This was the best.

~M.E.

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Week 467 // Seekers

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Hold me
The same way
All the way home
All the creatures
All the seekers
And non-believers

A motion
A kindness
In the silence
Empty stages
All the phrases
On torn out pages

Goddess
Oh heavens
All of nature
All the creatures
Every feature
Of true believers

Notes
I’m really enamored with this little song, but I’m at a bit of a loss on how to interpret it. I allowed the lyrics to come with very little friction, without a critical eye on the surface of the text, or the need to convey a specific meaning. Perhaps it is good if this one is up to you to read into, but I still feel a duty to try to decipher it just a little.

A thought: There is something in this song that speaks to losing and finding faith. The faith found doesn’t seem to be the same as the one that was lost. Perhaps the lost faith lost was wrapped up in assumptions about the self, and the found faith is rooted in discovery of the world outside.

Another thought: I am often interested in the word “creatures”. In my work creatures are sometimes monsters or threats, both internal and external. Other times, creatures are animals, friends, or the kind and misunderstood other. I think this song uses all of these meanings in very few words.

Those are my thoughts on this song.

~M.E.

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Week 466 // Waiting on the Light to Break

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Waiting on the light to break
Thinking of my friends
Thinking how the times have changed
Thinking of us then

Thinking of the worst of it
Lingering on the best
Tally what has come before
Count up what is left

Notes
Fall is always a reflective time of year, and the weather has finally well and truly shifted. As things cool down, I find my thoughts turning to friends, to the past, to way things were, and ultimately to the way things could be. This isn’t an elaborate song. It’s a pondering on people and time. It’s a anchor at a moment that feels like a turning point. It’s a moment to consider my context carefully, and proceed.

~M.E.

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Week 465 // The Glow Worm Serenade

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The Earth is aglow
And we are alive

The Earth is aglow
And we are alive

The Earth is alive
And we are aglow

Notes
Riding back to New York from Vermont in a rented minivan, David and Nat could tell that I was feeling anxious about arriving home in time to write and record a song today. It was after five, and traffic seemed to be slowing. Luckily, I was riding with two of New York’s most creative and supportive musicians. They convinced me to strum out a new tune in the car, and they offered to help. My range of motion was tight, and recording conditions were less than ideal, but we made it work as best we could. We were coming off the emotional high of a beautiful annual gathering with our dearest friends, so the sentiment came easily.

David and Nat provided whistling, vocal improvisations and harmony, and I plucked out a nice thing on the guitar while I sang a simple notion into my phone. The engine roared, doing its best to obscure the finer subtitles of Nat’s vocal “trumpet” solo, but you can hear it there behind it all. David sounded like a beautiful song bird.

I’m grateful for this life and the people who live it with me.

~M.E.

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Week 464 // Melted Wax

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Take this
Confidence
Sunshine
Icarus
The moonlight
Never melted wax
Icarus
Didn’t think of that

Notes
This song was written around a short and simple poem I concocted using the myth of Icarus to poke at questions about confidence. He probably had too much of it, which is something a lot of us can relate to. Usually when we fly too close to the proverbial sun, we don’t really plummet to the earth, but our confidence often can. Unlike Icarus, we can often build ourselves back up again, and look the situation from another angle. We can be wiser than Icarus and make our next flight by the light of the moon instead.

~M.E.

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Week 463 // The Persistence of Life and Those Living It

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There’s a change
On the way
There’s a change
On the way

I’m gonna need you
With me
I’m gonna need you
With me
I’m gonna need you
With me
I’m gonna want you
Close

There’s a storm
On the way
There’s a storm
On the way

I’m gonna need you
With me
I’m gonna need you
With me
I’m gonna need you
With me
I’m gonna want you

Notes
This is my second favorite recording of this song. As I wrote it, I made a quick demo of it on my phone’s voice memo app so I wouldn’t forget it. With the bedroom door and a window open, Rebecca’s shower could be heard in the other room, and cars and trucks were loudly rattling by outside. Juxtaposed with this somber meditation on change, the soundscape grounded the song in all of those things that remain the same — the persistence of life and those living it. Unfortunately, those sounds were too assertive in the lo-fi recording. The track, although beautiful, was utterly unfit for public consumption, so I rerecorded it with a bit more care, and a lot less noise. It was a shame to lose something beautiful in this song, so I dedicated the title to that which was lost.

~M.E.

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Week 462 // The Words

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I walk for miles to you
I walk for miles to you
You’re waiting there
You’re waiting there
What am I to say?
What am I to say?

I write a song to you
I write a song to you
Try to find the words
Try to find the words
It doesn’t say enough
It doesn’t say enough

I’ll spend the day with you
I’ll spend the day with you
Holding onto this
Holding onto this
I find the words again
I find the words again

Notes
How do we say we care? Songwriters have sung of scaling mountains, of braving the elements, of overcoming great trials just to say “I love you”. The very art of writing love songs is meant to convey that which we otherwise might not muster the courage or eloquence to say in plain words to another person, to elicit a grander understanding of one’s depth of feeling. But walking for miles and miles and writing love songs are just gestures. They can be meaningful gestures to be sure, but the true language of expressing oneself to another person doesn’t live in those sweeping gestures. It thrives most in time spent together, in quiet moments, in simple kindnesses, in listening ideally at least as much as you speak. It seems that I’ve written a song about the inadequacy of song. The snake is now eating its own tail, but there you have it.

~M.E.

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Week 461 // Our Way in or Their Way Out

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Let philosophers opine
On the meaning of the tides

I object to being made to come ashore

After sleeping I awoke
My throat was parched but still I spoke

I don’t long to be afraid anymore
I don’t wish to be consumed by the war

I don’t mean to come off as rude
And I don’t want to seem obtuse
But I don’t feel like being the student anymore

Are we entertaining doubt?
Our way in or their way out
I don’t know, is this a good world?

Catch me napping in the park
Talk to strangers after dark

I don’t long to be afraid anymore
I don’t wish to be consumed by the war

I don’t mean to come off as rude
And I don’t want to seem obtuse
But I don’t feel like being the student anymore

Notes
I’ve spent a lot of my adult life trying to convince myself to give into conventional wisdom. When we’re a bit younger, we assume we know better. It takes learning a bit of humility to come around to the notion that others might have figured out a thing or two before we came on the scene, and that things are often done a certain way for a good reason. For the most part, conventional wisdom has done alright by me. When I shook off my sense of superiority over the way things are done, I found myself in a solid career with some stability, able work toward a future with my partner. Not bad.

But I’m getting old enough to understand that conventional wisdom has frustrating limitations. I have an inkling that many of the world’s most pressing problems somehow boil down to: “this is just the way it has always been done”. Certain clever people need to assert that on this subject or that one, they might actually know better. Lots of people do this, but they’re usually just told to grow up or to be more realistic. The oppression wrought by sensible people runs deep enough that naive people can rarely be told apart from clever ones. Having noticed this, I offer no solution whatsoever, other than to sing about it. I’ll get back to you.

~M.E.

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Week 460 // In a Sea of Stars

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Home
In a sea of stars
Calling out your name
With the window
Open
And it doesn’t matter who hears

Home
Home
Home

Day
And the trouble’s gone
Walk the same way home
In the cool breeze
Sun light
Everything is looking up

Home
Home
Home

Notes
I wrote this guitar part in my parents’ living room in New Hampshire on Sunday morning. I’ll often record clips of ideas on my phone so I’ll remember them later. Listening back as I prepared to make this recording, I heard my dad say, “that one’s peaceful, what do you call it?” I replied as I continued to play, “it’s called I don’t know, I just made it up.”

My mom suggested, “well you need to give it a name,” to which I replied, “that’s usually the last part.”

Now that it’s done I, I have a less evasive answer. It turns out it’s called “In a Sea of Stars”. I wanted to give it the feeling of home that I always feel in that living room in New Hampshire. The words don’t necessarily speak to that exact Sunday morning in that exact room, but I hope the feeling comes across.

~M.E.

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