The Part Memory Plays

Sitting here with the Taylor in my lap. Just played Whole Heart and Snow Come Down. Was thinking also about the song Through the Cracks, but can’t remember it well enough to play. My songs are so tied to the circumstances of their inspiration. Also, to the memories that surround performing them. Whole Heart: Vin Scelsa reacting protectively, saying he would like to kill the subject of the song. (He still quotes my telling him the song was “fiction, babe”). I play these songs and the memories spin me off. I look up and I’ve stopped playing and my mind is time traveling. Whole Heart again. Opening for the eels in Paris with bronchitis. Somehow the song never sounded better or more real. Beautiful Theater. Tremendous response from the crowd… Of course,  Snow Come Down is memory laden, too. Being asked, by Keith Gordon, to change the lyric for the version used in Waking the Dead. And I vividly remember writing it. Sitting in the dark, in the guest room at my parent’s house, watching the heavy flakes fall, illuminated by a street light.

The songs I’ve written in the past five years are mostly D songs. They tell a story of unrequited love and frustration.  I’m too close to them to have them take me anywhere. The rest are songs written for other projects, inspired by the suggestion of the films or ideas given to me by DW.  Those songs are more optimistic. Sunnier, sweeter.  I don’t know what to do with all these songs. I work on them, re-record them. Second-guess the recordings. I think these are the best songs of my life, but they remain in limbo. Not sure if it matters. What is their purpose anyway? What is their value beyond the pleasure they bring to me in writing them?

Last week, I worked on an advertising job. I wrote a melody and lyric for a Lee Jeans commercial. I sang it too, but was replaced by another singer. She sounds like Chan Marshall. Many of the songs in advertising lately are either sung by Cat Power or by a singer who kind of sounds like that. Music is as much fashion as music. In advertising especially. I don’t fight it. I don’t even feel compromised by it. I don’t need the world to see things my way. I do need to put food on the table, a roof over my head. I use my skills to accomplish that and feel fine about it, feel lucky for the opportunity.

It snowed last night. Doe, the cats and I, watched it fall through the big windows that face South. I love the view through these windows. The lovely painted brick and brownstones. The beautiful roof-line and sky. I feel so lucky to be alive and aware of the beauty around me. I’m open and ready for whatever comes next.

Doe and I have been taking long walks in Central Park. It’s so beautiful in every season. I love winter trees. I don’t miss the house or living in Mattituck. Not for a second. My memories are little side travels I take as I go forward, gently, peacefully.

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3 Responses to The Part Memory Plays

  1. jbryan says:

    Lori, You just need be a fan, a lover and you will know the purpose and value of your songs in limbo. Is there greater empathy than a song? As a fan and a lover, I think not. :)

  2. loondoo says:

    Hi Lori,

    Always interesting to see where your amazing mind travels in your journals. It’s predicted to snow very hard tonight, and your song will be first to come to mind, as it always does. And I of course remember hearing that Vin Scelsa interview live on “Idiot’s Delight” on WNEW, and I distinctly remember wanting to punch the subject of that song in the face too, and wanting to protect you.

    Life is so random and odd, the twists and turns it takes, but like you say, you just have to go with it and be thankful for what we have. I’m sure whatever path you choose will be successful and I wish you only the best always.

    The only criticism I have…is that you should be playing a Martin, and not a Taylor! : P

    Love, T

  3. Joebob says:

    Perhaps the largest part of the total value is in what you give to others via your art. I for one know what to do with all these songs; listen to them, over and over. Each time brings me something new. Thank you.

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