Week 259 // In Real Life

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In real life
You won’t remember it all
In real life
You’ll grasp at moments and lose
And once or twice you’ll see
In real life
The wheel for what it is
In real life

You’ll learn a name oh you will
In real life
It’s written over it all
In your life

In real life
You’ll step all over your worth
And forgotten nights
You won’t believe who you hurt
The sky ablaze in gold
In real life
The breeze of pine and salt
In real life

Notes
I’ve been into the idea of slow music lately. I’ve been listening mostly to film scores, and I’ve been finding the most appealing parts to be be the quieter moments, rather than the bigger bombastic themes. Last week I worked on something slow, but I couldn’t resist the urge to throw in some fancy drum programs to liven it up. This week I wanted to commit to taking it slow, so that’s what I’ve done.

This is a case of the song title preceding the song itself. I’d been playing around with the idea of singing about real life for a little while, and I’d even started writing a different song with the same title. That song was fast and lively. It wasn’t bad, but I preferred something more meditative. What is real life as I’m singing about it here? For much of the song it is the moments when your experience departs from your ideal. But sometimes it is the moment when your experience and your ideal are perfectly aligned. A common western cliché misreading of Buddhist thought suggests that all life is suffering (or maybe that’s exactly what the Buddhists are saying — I’m not Buddhist after all, so what do I know?). I’ve always hated this axiom because it leads me down a dark path that I’m prone to following. Sure, a great deal of life is suffering, and realizing that real life will often treat you badly is a big part of coming to an understanding with the world. But life is also serenity, and love, and great many other things. We stack up suffering in real life to juxtapose to our bliss in real life. That’s what I’m singing about.

~M.E.

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