SCP #60: Of Smoke
Two months of songs down, and it took me all this time to do something on ukulele. I have never really enjoyed playing uke, as I find it uncomfortable to hold, and just use it for teaching. But yesterday I finally went and got a strap button installed, and it made such a difference. While I was studying at the VCA Jo Lawry gave a master class, and spoke about the advantages of writing songs on an unfamiliar instrument. For her it was guitar, and she enjoyed just putting her fingers onto the instrument and letting sounds guide her. The ukulele plays a similar role for me, as I find its tuning very foreign. This song came about from simply putting my fingers in random places on the instrument and letting my ear be my guide.
A quote from Joni Mitchell provides some insight into this:
"If you're only working off what you know, then you can't grow. It's only through error that discovery is made, and in order to discover you have to set up some sort of situation with a random element, a strange attractor, using contemporary physics terms. The more I can surprise myself, the more I'll stay in this business, and the twiddling of the notes is one way to keep the pilgrimage going. You're constantly pulling the rug out from under yourself, so you don't get a chance to settle into any kind of formula."
My process so far has been full of tricks for introducing that random element into my work, although the more you work with the same tricks the more predictable, and less useful, they become. If I am to continue to grow as a writer through this journey I need to continue to find ways of "pulling the rug out from under myself", as Mitchell so aptly puts it.