The earliest memory I have is one of drowning. This came up at Thanksgiving dinner, at which there was a 3-week-old baby. We were all talking about earliest memories and that was mine. I remember the blurry blue underwater as I opened my eyes in panic. I was 3 years old. My dad famously jumped in fully clothed and fished me out when he realised what was happening.

Recently, in an attempt to write more songs with words, I’ve been challenging myself to write about different things. Unusual things. It’s easy to write about feelings, about sadness. But it’s also watery. One thing I notice from all the prominent songwriters whose songs really shine – people like Bob Dylan, John Prine, Irving Berlin, even Paul Kelly who I just discovered – their songs are always about something specific and often unusual. I put this hypothesis to Al yesterday and her response was “yeah, that’s the first most basic thing you learn about writing. Show don’t tell”.
This week I wrote some song lyrics about riding the bus. I thought they were funny. I also wrote about a couple I saw walking downtown, and about an old dive bar I remember. It’s strangely both scary and comforting, like ET, to write about different things. Scary because it’s out of my sadness-love-loneliness-escapism wheelhouse I’ve been pretty energetically occupying for a good few years. Comforting because it’s drawing from my everyday life, from things I can see clearly, and it’s fun to put them on the page.

Here’s a poem I wrote recently, which I think relates to this desire:
To understand myself
I look inside
To what would make me whole
And hope shows its little head
Like a friend I've always known
Come back to find me
Way out in the mesquite bushes
And lead me on over blue shaded mountains
Into a land I've never seen
But where I want to go