I think this song may have been inspired (like so many others) by my hero Reinhold Messner, whose brother Gunther died while they were climbing a mountain together. But on a personal level, it reflects the feeling of being lost in a world of ice- coldness, loss, isolation- as the flame of life struggles to hang on.
I wrote this song in Kentucky while visiting my parents for Christmas. I think in the back of my mind there were images of a school field trip where we were dropped off in the mountains and had to find our way back to the teachers using a map and compass.
But I like this song because it captures the conflicts I felt at the time, such as being weighed down by the past, but feeling pressured to move quickly into the future; and having my own mind, but wanting to see things the same way as others. And in general, the sense of groping my way through darkness and pain towards an unknown goal. Maybe that is how seeds feel until they finally reach the air.
I wrote this song while I was living in Los Angeles. I remember writing it- inspired by the colors red and white- while walking up a steep sidewalk to visit a friend who worked at a hotel. People say that Los Angeles is a car city, but I found getting around on foot to be relatively easy, especially since the weather was so nice.
For a while, my daily routine was to walk to the mall where I would get some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and browse the stores. I would frequently write songs while walking, since being outside gave my head more room to think.
I suppose this song is about the pain of having an emotional attachment to someone who doesn’t have a functioning heart. Many people are in this situation, with family members, boyfriends, etc. Do you end the relationship- which can be extremely painful and have practical repercussions- or stay in the relationship and try to fix the person’s heart so they will stop hurting you?
People always say that you can’t change anyone, and that seems to be true. The superficial layers of the personality are like plants, which grow and adapt over weeks and years, but the deeper elements are like rock formations- they change too- but it probably won’t be during this lifetime.
When I wrote this song I was taking a class in Renaissance Astrology, and I had read a book- which I think was by Cornelius Agrippa- in which he describes the Soul of the World as loving all things sweet and shiny. I was glad to read that, because it matched up with my idea (at the time) of the Universe being one giant woman who loved flowers, candy, jewelry, and greeting cards, and had the power to turn everything bad into something good. Download MP3: Fanciful
I heard this song in my head one morning while making corn bread.
The next day, I had to spend hours at a fair. While there, I started to be overcome with anxiety from being surrounded by so many people. James said, “Maybe some corn will help you.” and bought me a gigantic bag of kettle corn. And it did. Just like magic, with every sweet and salty bite, the claustrophobia began to melt away, until I ended up feeling quite comfortable and having a good time. Thanks corn!
Feeling impressed, like me and corn were on the road to becoming good friends, I googled corn when I got home and found that it is used homeopathically as a remedy for discomfort in crowded environments. I also learned about corn’s checkered past. Corn is definitely a grain more focused on power and success than being a nice guy. But I like that about corn. We all need a tiny (diluted) drop of pure evil in us.
I do feel that corn itself is the driving force behind genetically modified corn, and not humans. Corn has been inspiring humans to tamper with it since its inception. Personally, I think there are MANY cases in life when humans are simply carrying out the will of plants or other life forms. Would people feel less afraid of genetic modification if they thought that corn itself was in the driver’s seat? At the very least, it would be harder to consider the process unnatural.
Recently, I saw a great corn movie- “At Any Price.” It really captured the impact corn can have on people, and the perils of having too much corn running through your veins. Next up, “Children of the Corn.” I wonder who inspired Stephen King to write that book?
I wrote this song while living in Santa Fe, in a weekly motel off the side of the highway.Perhaps if I had lived in a different part of town, I would have enjoyed it more, but as it was the only things I liked were the pinon coffee and the gazillions of stores that sold stones and crystals, which was the beginning of a new hobby for me. Otherwise it was a harsh place to live- expensive, windy, dry, and so far away from anything else! People say it is a spiritual place, so I tried to tap into that by decorating my motel room with dream catchers and Mexican blankets, but ultimately I concluded that desert plateaus are not the place for me.
If I remember correctly, the archangel Sandalphone is responsible for the souls of those who die as infants.
I wrote this song during winter in New Hampshire. Most people here seem to like the ice and snow, but to me they were prison bars. Staying indoors all the time can feel very claustrophobic, but so can walking around under gray skies covered from head to toe in thick black fur, unable to breath and still freezing.
But, since everyone else seemed to love winter, I figured there must be something I was missing. I wanted to love winter too; I just needed to know how. So I went to the library to check out books about eskimos, hoping to pick up some tips on how to be happy in an all white world.
From the eskimos, I learned the importance of drinking fresh seal blood so your soul will be part human and part seal. I learned that you can eat raw brains, liver, and intestines, and that meat doesn’t have to be cooked, it can be eaten frozen as well. I read about wife swapping, and giving away babies you couldn’t feed, sometimes even leaving them outside on the ground in the hopes that someone else would find them before an animal did. Their lives reminded me of White Fang and Call of the Wild- deep, rugged, brutal, and nothing like the lacy white wonderland I had been hoping to read about!
The cold seems to drag everything down, forcing you to make tough choices between what to hang on to and what to let go of. I know some people choose to live in super cold environments where the sun doesn’t shine for months at a time, but I still don’t know what their secrets are. How does a person keep happiness alive when all the fruits and flowers have died?
Yesterday, on WSCA Portsmouth, I interviewed Mark Olson (of the Jayhawks), one of my top two favorite musicians of all time. I liked him a lot. For someone who writes such wistful, nostalgic music, he was a very fiery and down to earth kind of guy. He said his favorite stone is carnelian, which I thought was fitting.
I wrote this song when someone I knew was dying. I was expecting death to be black and grim, like suffocation in a haunted house. Instead, it felt as though a hole in the air had been ripped open, flooding the room with golden sunlight. And this sunlight kept flooding into the man, absorbing him, even as he fought against it.
His will was like an anchor, holding him to this time and place, but his will began to break down beneath the bombardment of golden light, until his mind detached and was floating in the air, half of him in this world and half in another one.
On the other side of the rip in the air, it looked like outer space, except that the space was gold, not black, and all the stars were closer than moons, like gigantic golden orbs filling the sky. And as it shone into the man’s room, the light surrounded ordinary objects with rings of gold, so they, too, began to seem vast and awe inspiring, the sight of a spoon suddenly causing your heart to catch in your throat.