Thursday, July 17, 2008

On background

I've been meaning to say a word about the background of the new site -- it's one of the features that makes it feel personal.

The original intent was to have some sort of "floating words" element in the design -- I'm a lyricist, after all, so there should be words. We talked about a flash opening with adjectives (beginning with z, m, u, l and s) waving.

Miralina gave me a draft idea that included some typed text in the background, faded so as not to detract from the text you were supposed to read. And I asked her if it would be possible to take handwritten papers and transform them (through the magic of scanning and photoshopping) into a background.

What you see in the background of the website (not the blog site) is actual rough copies of four lyrics -- my own writing -- cut and pasted and repeated for visual effect. You can see how I work on a lyric, the sorts of scribbles and crossings-out, the occasional rhyme selections scrawled on the side, the rewriting....I almost always work longhand. I have once or twice worked on a lyric on my computer, deleting and changing lines, but it's dissatisfying to delete. I like to see the history of the line, it makes it feel that I've worked for it.

It's the messy desk theory -- a clean desk means you're not working hard enough. What if I finished a lyric and all I had to show was a very cleanly-typed piece of paper?

I have had a fantasy of having to go to court to prove that I actually wrote a lyric, and hauling out my boxes of rough drafts and saying, "See, look at all the work I put in."

For the record, the four lyrics you can see are from "Yellow Mailbox" and "Slipped Away" (both turned into songs by Jim Chapman, "Midsummer" (another song, this one written by me for my wife) and "Inconcievable Joy" (a semi-autobiographical lyric I think came out well).

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