Methods.

August 13, 2006

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I’ve been trying to write more songs for a session in September; time is limited, obviously, and I don’t have the sheaf of culled phrases from months of journals that I usually use as a lyrical source. So I’ve been reading books with a pen in hand, underlining interesting and/or rhythmic words, and then writing them down the next day–over several columns on several sheets of paper, to put them in an order other than that in which they appeared in the books–and then when I go to the guitar and the drum machine I use those words to plug into the lyrics.
I did John Strausbaugh’s Black Like You (a history of blackface and minstrelsy), Murakami’s Underground (about the Tokyo subway gas attack in 1996, a creepy thing to be reading about this week) and I’m now doing Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera. It’s amazing how just a handful of words can suggest the worlds of these books; the Bowery stages of 1890, panicked commuters in regimented Asian society, dignified, elderly lovers in lush, surreal Carribbean locales.