Friday, September 17, 2010

fluid inspirations.

there are several years between the writing of stephen king's "pet semetary" and its being published. this is, in part, because of its inspiration. the book was inspired by a series of events taken place in his rented home in maine. the house was just alongside a major truck route which would be the cause of death for man local pets. because of this, there had been established a pet cemetery on the other side of the freeway. after burying his daughter's cat (a victim of the busy road), the principle of 'the cat came back' came to mind. the idea of this dead cat being buried and coming back, as he puts it, "alive but fundamentally different." a zombie cat, if you will. the question was then, what would happen if a person were to be buried there? it was this, in combination with a recent experience of narrowly stopping his son from being struck by a car that gave inspiration to the feelings, ideas, and story of semetary. however, when king had finished the book, he didn't review or submit it for publication for several years. he saw the inspirations of the work, and he simply wasn't ready to touch something with roots in the idea of a loved child coming back from the grave to kill--particularly as that idea was at least partially rooted in the experience of his own son nearly being killed. not for a period of time, anyway. eventually it was published, of course, and gained great popularity.

i'm not writing a novel, and nothing that i'm working on has near as deep or upsetting roots. however, to a degree, i can appreciate the idea of creating something and whether in the act or ex post facto, having some serious misgivings about it because of what inspired it. i think that's why i tend to take the more liberal feeling towards art and say that art's inspiration and meaning are flexible according to the environment surrounding it.

i don't normally post stuff i write--mainly because i feel if i'm going to share it at all, i'll play it. but, for this once, i'll break that rule. this is a song i wrote on my mission while in boston, england. we drove by a fish and chips shop called "queen of the sea" with the word "fish" before it and the word "chips" after it. i scrapped the "chips" and stole the remaining words to make the title of a very simple song. at the time, it had some loose inspirations. about two years later, the meaning would change, affecting my perception of the inspirations, happened again about a year after that, and is still changing today. anyway, i thought i'd share it. and as a sidenote--this is a sad song, but it's played with cheer. so as you read it, don't let it sound too tragic.

"fish, queen of the sea."
so swim, oh swim away. swim away oh sea queen.
you know i love you dear, but we know you're no ruler here.
you off and heading home, with and among your own,
means more than you being mine.

so swim, oh swim away. swim away oh darling.
both families wondering now why we are even bothering.
i wish that we could be, a royal family.
you know i'd walk and swim the line.

but you are a sea queen, and i'm a man king.
we fell into love's trap, now we have to mind the gap.
the problems we're to face aren't solved by being in love.
where could we even live--what place is neither underwater nor above?

and my people say of me, "our king is crazy.
he sees her fleeting whim, he sees it as her loving him.
he sacrificed and sought her, old retired triton's daughter--
did he think fate would care?"

but please my lady, do be pleased to know
it's i that's over them, and i still love you so.
put water out of thought, still if you i'd caught
you're optimistic dreams i would share.

but you are a sea queen, and i'm a man king.
we fell into love's trap, now we have to mind the gap.
the problems we're to face aren't solved by being in love.
where could we even live--what place is neither underwater nor above?

sea queen, oh sea queen. stranger love old time has seen--
but no doubt we're the strongest love that's been all as strange.
cruelest of jokes it seems. tinkering with our hearts and dreams.
no doubt we're the pride or shame of all the loves time has arranged.

you know i love you but farewell.
me to the sea, you to the land.
we do not match though we belong.
i hope our hearts will understand.

was this song originally written with a girl in mind? why yes, yes it was. over the years, has this been about the same girl? no. has it always been about girls? no. in fact, for quite a while it was about my not being a theater major. long story short, at this point, the inspiration (though sentimental) has given way to application. i apply this song to my current situations when i play it, as i do with everything i've ever written. i like it that way.

so. why was stephen king able to publish this story? i think, in part, because there comes a point that you can stand apart from your own work and its inspirations and at least begin to appreciate and view it objectively. when that happens, you can enjoy what you made without having to enjoy where it came from.

wow... this post has gotten long winded. i'll try to wrap it up.

i started a song on monday and finished it wednesday. its inspirations and implications are already changing. that fluidity is greatly appreciated. so what's the moral of this post? could be that some things are changing, could be that i'm a non-linearist when it comes to time, could be that whatever is causing a person upset can be altered by perception, or it could be that i've a motive i won't bother sharing.

ironic as it may be, its changed a few time while writing it.


  1. This song has been a standard to play when I am behind the drum kit at the parents' house, so I have heard it many times. Even though "if you want to share it, you'll play it", you ought to consider posting more lyrics to your songs.

    Just listening to it out loud, I couldn't catch all the subtleties that I can when reading it. I can't speak for others' opinions, but I envy your lyrical abilities. Well done, brother!

  2. author, author!
    a most enjoyable post.

  3. Well I'm impressed. Thanks for the performance on Sunday. Good Job!