I don’t know what it’s like to have a baby. But I think the closest I’ll get to that experience is the process of composing a song.
There’s a book, Song Writers on Song Writing, filled with Paul Zollo’s interviews of song writers about their approaches to the craft. Some of the ideas I’ve stolen. Paul Simon throws a tennis ball against a wall, over and over, while searching for an idea. Burt Bacharach gets away from his instrument while composing so he won’t get stuck in well-worn grooves. There is a knack to this that you can get better at. And at the same time, there is no step by step approach, no short cut, in trying to create something that feels honest and that sparkles. I can say that in the middle of creating a composition, I feel totally alive, completely exhilarated, and at the same time I can’t wait until it’s over.
The songs on I’ll Give You My Wings were written over about three years. Some of the lyrics, like those in Blood and Bones, and Feels Like Dying, Feels Like Bliss, are expressions of the lessons gained from whole chapters of life distilled down into a few verses.