I started yesterday by hearing Krista Tippett interview Rosanne Cash. I came to Rosanne Cash by way of her CD, The List, a great collection of Cash covering classic songs, songs on a list of 100 songs that her dad, the famous Johnny Cash, told her she needed to learn. It's a great CD, one that my spouse and I enjoy singing along to on car trips. I also have Cash's memoir, Composed, which I haven't read yet, but may make more of an effort to get to it after hearing Tippett and Cash yesterday. I'd also like to get her CD Black Cadillac, which has some wonderfully poetic songs.
Cash talks about showing up every day to do the work and not waiting for some bolt of inspiration from the Muse: "Well, my friend Steven Pressfield, he wrote this great book called The War of Art, and he has this great line in it. He says, 'You have to show the Muse you're serious.' You know, you can't just expect to be hit by these beautiful bolts of inspiration and lightning. You have to keep showing up even if you don't get hit for a year or two years. Just show the Muse you are serious. And then that the relationship there feels like love to me. I mean, it feels like the heart opening."
She also talks about the idea of catching songs and then the conversation moves towards mathematics and physics--fascinating.
Throughout the course of the conversation, the women talk about her creative process, about composing as therapy, about her father and his death, about God and religion, about recovering from brain surgery, about whether or not her songs can stand without music as poetry--and it's a fascinating window into how music helps the poetry of the lyrics.
She also talks about Twitter, about how Twitter builds community and about how Twitter functions as boot camp for song writers: "If you can say it succinctly and somewhat poetically or with humor in 140 characters, that's great for refining the skills as a songwriter." She learned to knit via Twitter--well, she met a knitting teacher. I think the actual instruction, at least the first lesson, was done in person.
She talks about mystery and about getting ideas during the middle of regular life: "There are mysteries, you know; fractals are a mystery. And songwriting is somewhat mysterious — there are mysterious moments. And I like living with the questions, rather than the answers. Tom Waits said this great thing about songwriting. He said he was driving in a car on the freeway and he got an idea for a song and it was just, you know, like overwhelming him, the idea for this song, and he couldn't get a pencil and there was no paper. And he's on the freeway and he finally just looked up at the sky and said, 'Don't you see I'm driving?' And I feel that way sometimes too. Don't you see I'm getting my child off to school or helping with homework or, you know, just trying to be available?"
It's a great interview, well worth your time. You can go here to listen to the show or to read the transcript or to explore videos or other resources.
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