Hi friends - Here's a new song hot off the press! This song was inspired by my latest songwriter book club selection, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, as well as the song prompt "How to be a Winner when you Lose" provided by Eagles songwriter Jack Tempchin for next month's "The Game" event hosted by Listen Local Radio.
The book Big Magic advises artsits to ditch the notion of suffering for your work or relying on a positive outcome/review to feel fulfilled as an artist. Gilbert proposes that by making yourself more attractive to "Big Magic" (the supernatural form of inspiration that we creative-types all lust after) via a courageous mindset, a diligent work ethic, and a positive attitude, you will find more inspiration and joy in the process of creating as a whole.
As someone who writes a lot about loss, grief, anxiety, fear, and fun things like that, I had a tough time swallowing this pill of a book. I understand and agree with the big picture version of Gilbert's concepts, particularly the idea of finding peace by detaching from outcome. I don't want to be a mARTyr (I just made that up) as a human or a songwriter, but I do think it's important to create art about human suffering. I have healthily processed so many difficult experiences both as a creator and a listener of this type of music. I guess I don't really know how to create this type of work from a non-suffery place.
I sat down to write a song with the book in mind, and it ended up sounding like I was pleading my case to the author yet trying to come around by subscribing to her logic. The last lines for the chorus were originally: "seems like big magic's only big hat trick is disappearing with my heart...and if she ever comes around again she won't catch me suffering in the name of art."
I knew that, for me, that last line was a total lie. Inspiration will most definitely catch me suffering again. That's where she always finds me, actually. So imagine my delight when I read the song prompt "How to be a Winner when you Lose." This was the missing piece I needed to get on board with my new song. It allowed me create space for the light without completely ignoring the tunnel. Hope you enjoy! Hear it live on January 19th at Brick 15 in Del Mar!
1. it's not like I was asking loss to be my best friend
but she stuck around when the chips were down
i've always found her at the bitter end
it's not like I've forgotten where the doors are or how to knock them
i quite like the sound of the pavement pounding
underneath the steps of my ambition
i wanted big magic,
the kind of life that shoots across the sky
lighting up the dark
i've got this book of matches
wet with regret, splintered with time
and i can't find the spark
seems like big magic's only big hat trick
is to go when she knows you blew a fuse
she'll leave you sitting in the dim
learning how to be a winner when you lose
2. it's not like I'm complaining about the waxing and the waning
i prefer the rise and fall of a curve ball
i'm always honored by her visitation
it's not like i am choiceless or powerless or voiceless
but i feel so weak, it gets hard to speak
in the ruthless furnace of expectation
image credit: Darci Fontenot