Here is the very first demo-posting to kick off The Mixtape Project. Coincidently, the song is entitled “Mixtape” and the topic of the song is what inspired this year-long experiment. I thought it only fitting to name the project after this song. Here is a soapbox to backstory this song:
In talking with a friend about the need to live and breath within the arch of a creative life, he pointed me to a book called “The Artist’s Way.” From what I have looked into about the book, it seems to be a bit of a “how to” for artists to find their way out of being blocked. I’m guessing it happens at one time or another to anyone practicing their individual creative expression. In all honesty, I have only read the first three pages. But, my friend mentioned a section of the book where it talks about the different ways people intentionally set up their lives to facilitate inspiration. Bear with me if you would because I will be paraphrasing second hand information, but this is how I understood what he was extrapolating.
Some people need a regimented schedule to be creative. They wake up at the same time every morning, journal a bit, read, go for a walk, and then get to work at their craft. Other people live a life of excess and exhaustion with mind altering drugs, alcohol, wild adventures, and quick rushes to find themselves inspired. Still, others follow the method of research, study, travel, and experience to inhale life and exhale their understanding of it all. There are many more scenarios, as I understand it.
For me, I have always found that insomnia and inspiration go hand in hand. I think it’s that razor’s edge of sleep deprivation where the mind deprograms just enough to unlock. The problem with this is that I have a wife who patterns her life in strange opposition. If you can believe it, she actually goes to sleep at night and wakes up the next morning refreshed and ready to take on the next day. This sad reality finds this friend and cohabitation partner of mine at odds in schedule, if I so choose my craft over a “normal life”. It seems, more often than not, I am only living that normal life vicariously through her because even now as I write and she sleeps, I am about to welcome tomorrow’s first hour. The reality for me is that the normal life is what seems so completely out of control to me.
I have two catch phrases. One of my catch phrases is applicable enough to the point that it sounds like it was pressed on damaged vinyl. It skips, “You always have to choose between music or the girl. You can never choose both at the same time.” The point is argued by many romantics, but never disproved. It’s only reinforced at every rotation of the record as the next occasion comes around when someone’s girl is mad at their guy for being passionate about something other than them. My other catch phrase is, “I will always, always choose YOU over music. . .so just don’t make me choose.” That rings true more than the first. Kara is the only reason that any of this continues. What gets me is that she knows that I don’t give her my whole heart. She knows that so much of me is completely devoted to this craft, this pop-art, this passionate pursuit to be creative. She stands and watches as it calls my attention, time, and energy away from her. The real dichotomy is, by her submitting in that way, she becomes the very person who I can’t help but be completely in love with and it makes me want to find any way to leave this music for her. Standing as the only proof that my first catch phrase doesn’t hold water, she makes it possible to be completely in love with both her and music at the same time. She never seems to put herself as the opposition to this other passion.
She is my captive escape. It’s the freedom in knowing that I am a slave of her gaze. There is a portion of my life that feels like I have committed myself to a comfortable, padded-room. You can decide whether you think that portion is the creative arch or the “normal life”. But, I haven’t decided yet. I promise, Kara and I will be all right. The irony is that the song about me staying awake to spend time with music rather than with her is written in a way to serenade her to sleep. I’m sure it will make the sixth spot in her night time mixtape just as her eyes are closing.
As the mix tape repeats
One more 6/8 rocks you to sleep
The lamp light on low
You know I’ve no where to go
Far from the stages and places we play
There is a captive escape in the way
You lay me down
In our quiet house
Oh, but even now
When everything is over
Tomorrow has closed your eyes
Mine will be open
And there’ll be no sleep tonight
I conform, I concede
When so much is out of control
Where this bed and these dishes
And Mrs. makes this house a home
Far from the pages of meaningless phrase
There is a captive escape in the way
You write me out
And we’re safe and sound
Even if its just for now
And I follow the Muse
My pad and pen
She calls me out again