SCP #20: Wild Daisy
My friend Emilee Seymour (who is a wonderful multi-disciplinary artist) told me in an email the other day she was intrigued by the writing exercises I've mentioned a few times in this blog, so I thought I'd use that as an excuse to talk about them in a little more detail today. First, my connection to yesterday comes by way of dandelions, which are part of the daisy family. I dipped into the Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore and the Occult Sciences again, which told me "it is very unlucky to transplant wild daisies into a cultivated garden". Using this idea of trying to tame a wild daisy I conducted two three-minute writing exercises, the first prompted by wild daisy and the second by cultivated daisy:
Her limbs are long and untamed, skipping through meadows and leaving seeds scattered across the hills, pieces and memories of herself left behind. She turns her full face to the sun, finding the warmest spots to set roots and mingle with other wild things.
Her form is manicured between borders, her shape a well-tempered roundness that is kept clipped and allowed to mass between other well chosen neighbours. She drinks from a watering can and can only wilt to show her thirst, cannot cry out or send her roots searching deeper and wider for cool water.
Both these passages gave me plenty of interesting words, phrases and ideas to work with. I worked on piecing bits of them together into something more like a song, mainly through improvising with fragments of the text and finding things that felt nice to sing. Whenever I got stuck I returned to the two passages for a new word, phrase or idea. These are the final lyrics, you can see how the first passage in particular informed them:
You find her, turned to the sun
Lithe and untamed, she slips through your mind
Sowing pieces of herself.
And so you take her,
You take her in all her lovely wildness
And she grows tame
But the colours that haunted you seem flat now.
So you forget her,
Let her wilt away.
The biggest challenge in turning these writing exercises into song lyrics is often what to leave out. There are lots of places the words could have gone, but the nice thing about this short deadline is that it forces me to follow one path and stick with it.
For the harmonic side of things I took the notes from yesterday's improvisation and built a kind of Bbmaj9#11 chord from them. The guitar and vocal parts were both somewhat improvised, with a few pre-composed ideas that appear at set points in the piece. This stretched my performance skills significantly, as it's the first time I've tried to improvise like this with both guitar and voice at the same time.