Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Duned: Biceps and Brooding

In high school, I was convinced I was going to die alone surrounded by handmade quilts and a bunch of pet snakes. I always felt a little too dark and sarcastic to be worth pursuing, and I was pretty sure that no one was interested in me. Was I kidding myself? Quite possibly, but, remember, I was riddled with insecurities as a teenager. It was difficult to believe that anyone saw anything beyond my academic record. Or maybe I was just too scared to believe such things.

Whatever the reasons, I put a spiny, protective spin on my singleness to shield my ego. I wasn't alone because I was ugly or unworthy of companionship. I was alone because I was protecting everyone from me. I was a hazard that needed to be kept away from people, because I was sure that if I let anyone get too close I would hurt them. I would end up driving them away with my darkness and freeze them out with my fears. I didn't want to hurt anyone. I would absorb the hurt for them and stop them before they got too close.

By the summer after my sophomore year of college, I was still pretty convinced I was going to die alone, but by that point I had experience to help justify my position. The details aren't important, but the mindset is...

That summer I decided to write a new song every day. I wanted to really dig into the craft of songwriting and discover what my limits were. I wanted to understand my process and I wanted to experience it under stress. That summer I wrote a LOT. Most of it was just okay, but some pieces stuck with me.

A month in, songs were getting more difficult to write--I was simply running out of ideas. But, one night I found myself sprawled on the living room carpet watching Prince of Persia, and inspiration struck.

I honestly don't remember what happened in that movie beyond Jake Gyllenhaal and his arms climbing up the sides of buildings, but I'm convinced that watching it affected my writing, because what I came up with that night was different from my previous songs. It contained interesting chord progressions and a very strong desert motif.

But while the sound was new, the content was not. Wrapped in the ancient desert sands was teenage pain that hadn't gone away.





Duned
By Rachel Oto

Drink up lips and fingertips, ‘cause I
Will likely leave you parched, desperate and dry

Love
Like water for our lives
I’m a mirage
Shimmer and draw you out to die

Lose your mind while you dehydrate and run for your life
Dream of green and trees with fruit so divine

Love
Like water for our lives
I’m a mirage
Shimmer and draw you out to die

You’ve traveled so far
Forgot where you are
I’m heat and hot sand
Get out while you can

Drink up lips and fingertips, ‘cause I
Will steal all your passion and desire

Love
Like water for our lives
I’m a mirage
Shimmer and draw you out

Love
Like water for our lives
I’m a mirage
Shimmer and draw you out

To die


(NOTE: I realize as I write these posts and expose my soul, just what a mess I sound like and just how many issues I had (maybe still have). I'm not looking for pity or compassion--writing has given me as much catharsis and clarity as I could hope for. It's just that it struck me after writing my first few posts that most people don't really care about the mechanics of songwriting as much as they do the emotions behind it. So, it is with that thought that I give you a look into my mind and provide you with something human to hold on to. However, once these songs hit your ears, they are yours to interpret and integrate into your world as you will. I would love to hear your impressions and interpretations.)

Be bold.

R

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