This song started playing in my head while I was living in Brooklyn, but I refused to write it down because I was determined not to write any more songs. Living on the outskirts of Brooklyn, a two hour walk to the subway, the idea of writing songs for nobody seemed both pointless and depressing. I thought my head space would be better used for something practical, although I wasn’t quite sure what that would be. It felt like I had reached the end of the my universe… no more hopes and dreams… no future to look forward to… just a never ending stream of three inch cock roaches to kill or run from.
The only thing that kept me going was a nearby drug store where I could buy 5 packs of potato chips for a dollar. They came in about 15 flavors ranging from Cool Ranch Doritos to Cheetos. Every evening I would walk to the drug store and select five packs. I would eat one (which was always thick pretzels) on the way home, and then eat the other four while watching a movie on my computer.
I didn’t want to be in Brooklyn, but with no money and no car, what could I do? One day, I decided to paint my apartment sky blue and decorate it with pictures of airplanes, hoping they would magically give me the power to fly away. A few days later, the answer struck me like lightening- I could rent a car and move back to Kentucky! How could it have taken me so long to realize something so obvious?
Leaving New York was the best feeling ever. Driving through the Amish countryside in Pennsylvania… buying fried chicken liver at a gas station on the Kentucky border… in comparison to Brooklyn, the rest of the world was one giant paradise! The people didn’t yell or throw glass bottles at you, the streets were wide and clean and the cars seemed to glide along in slow motion. There was no trash that blew down the sidewalks, no curly dark hairs in the breadsticks. Suddenly, every good experience had become affordable and within reach.
And so, at last, I had enough energy to buy a legal pad and write down this song.
I wrote this song while living in Egg Nest, Beverly Hills. At the time, I was attempting to support myself by selling paintings, which was a reasonable idea, since I had sold many of them, especially portraits, over the last couple years. Except that something about the IQ mashing euphoria of southern California had gone to my head, causing me to think it would be a good idea to multiply all my prices by one hundred. That way, I’d be a hundred times richer, right?
Needless to say, having prices that started at $20,000 made paintings difficult to sell, and being the owner of a twenty million dollar art collection was of little comfort once my food supply dwindled to candy bought with street quarters and online dating sites.
I wrote this song while living in Nashville. At the time, I had a band called the Jordan Almonds, which consisted of me, a drummer, an egg shaker, and a guy that would dance with a bucket on his head that said “2 YOUNG 2B GAY.” Sometimes, the Almonds would dress up in lavender silks, and once they even agreed to superglue mustaches to their faces made of faux fur. They made it much easier to get up on stage, because all the criticism that used to be directed at me was now magically redirected to the bucket on Cobey’s head.
I wrote this song in Los Angeles while living under the the grip of multiple “reverse spiral” relationships. Reverse spiral relationships are those where the more you give, the more you end up magically indebted to the other person, causing you to give even more, and so on.
Feeling too guilty and afraid to consider ending these relationships, the only solution I could envision was the possibility of a furry beast living on a deserted island, who could seduce these people into her sweet smelling, muscular arms and never let them go. A win-win situation for everyone (except maybe the beast.)
When I hear this song, I think of the Ohio River that separated Kentucky from Indiana. I see Indiana at night, shining with green lights like the Emerald City, and me standing in Kentucky, filled with longing. I see ghosts crossing the river, leaving Indiana to reach Kentucky, wearing long lace dresses that flutter in the breeze. I think of myself, all alone on the shore, bombarded by ghosts, and wishing there was a way to reach that Land of Dreams on the other side of the river.
Some say the color purple is like a gust of wind, rushing into your ears and swirling your brain around, and I agree with them. This song was the product of two sources of purple, and that is why it seems a little florid and obtuse- even by my standards.
The first source of purple was a musician (with a lavender aura) that happened to be sleeping at my Nashville apartment when I wrote this song. He had come over to write a song with me, but we ended up drinking some beer and falling asleep instead. Nevertheless, his sleeping presence was a definite disturbance in the force, like a lavender pea beneath my bed, agitating me into writing.
The second source of purple was my newly painted lavender bedroom. I had read in a feng-shui book that painting the southwest corner of your home purple would bring in money, and being a practical person, decided to give it a try. Luckily, it worked, and a couple days after painting my walls I sold some paintings for a few thousand dollars- a small fortune to me!
So… I guess this is a song inspired by the color purple- light purple, my favorite shade.
I wrote this song one evening while baking a beer cake for a friend who was coming over for dinner. How idyllic! I thought to myself. How pastoral! Look at me– wearing my apron, baking a cake for a friend! I am truly on my way to becoming the Salt of the Earth!
But becoming a true Noble Savage was presenting me with difficulties. One was my revulsion to body odor- something which (I had read in natural living magazines) I was supposed to prefer to the sanitized smell of chemicals. And my dinner guest was kind of an artist when it came to body odor. Would this be the day he filled his socks with raw garlic to naturally defeat foot odor? The day he bathed in onion juice to remove negative thought forms from his aura? Each time I saw him, he seemed to have invented a new olfactory horror– a week of no showers mixed with jasmine blossoms– a day of sweaty work followed by a bath in chili sauce… one thing I knew is that the smell would be truly horrifying and a stomach wrenching blend of nastiness I had never encountered before.
But- he was my friend! And wasn’t I supposed to delight in the aromas of nature? On two previous occasions, I had resorted to suggesting that he eat his dinner alone on the balcony so that he could enjoy the sunset in peace and solitude, but even then, I would eat in dread, bracing myself for the moment he would crack open the door to make small talk, and the stench of pig intestines and frankincense would fill the room. But even while wretching, I felt ashamed. I imagined that Gandhi and Mother Teresa wouldn’t care if someone used apple cider vinegar as a natural alternative to deodorant. A saint would either find the beauty in all smells, or possibly have a nose so full of love that they couldn’t smell anything else.
So, I think this song grew from the conflict between my fanciful desire to place all things savage upon a pedestal, and a gut level revulsion to beastly smells. And on a deeper level, perhaps I was beginning to doubt if sprouting lima bean seeds from eggs shells was really the meaning of my life.
I wrote this song while living in Los Angeles, in the tiniest apartment ever- just 100 square feet. The name of the apartment was Egg Nest, and I was very proud of it. It consisted of a little white day bed that had tiny flowers painted on its post, one wicker chest of drawers, an easel, a miniature guitar, a tiny refrigerator and a small plant hospital. On top of the wicker dresser I would keep my stereo, one scented candle, one pink Cosmo flower, and a few animal figurines. The walls were painted pink and adorned with pastel portraits of men, whom I viewed as my protectors.
The walls in my apartment were so thin that I couldn’t brush my hair without waking up my neighbor. This seemed like a metaphor for the minds of the people who lived in L.A. On the one hand, the thin membranes of their minds were what I loved the most- everyone was so open and so willing to consider and imagine anything. On the other hand, the city was filled with industries that preyed upon these vulnerable brains, mine included. Eventually, I had to upgrade my protective portraits to pictures of the most threatening men in existence- naked ones.
A song about a king with very long fingers… I wrote this during my Ron Paul phase, when I thought my goal in life was to be a Savage Granola, living off the grid in a geodesic dome. I tried to convince James to move to Oregon with me to live off the land and sell chicken eggs at the local farmers market, and he tried to convince me that I wouldn’t actually enjoy that sort of lifestyle. But in my imagination it was wonderful- we even had a pink horse & buggy & there were ribbons tied to just about everything. I would lean over my white picket fence to brag to my neighbor (who happened to be Archdruid John Michael Greer) that the only type of batteries I used were the ones I made from my own potatoes. I always wore handmade dresses covered with flowers and I was so happy it bordered on delirious.
But in the end, James was right. The closest I ever got to being a granola was making my own soap and trying to sell it to a health food store. When they turned me down (claiming that glitter soaps are not organic!) I knew it was time to find a new dream.
One afternoon, this blue wave washed over me, and suddenly life felt like an endless sea of longing that could never be satisfied. Or as the Buddhists say (from Wikipedia):
A basic unsatisfactoriness pervades all forms of existence, due to the fact that all forms of life are changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance. There is, therefore, a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards.
But the feeling passed, and I think Buddhists are pretty silly to claim that one emotion, one shade of blue, is the underlying nature of all reality.