Updated: Nov 6, 2019
After a few free writing exercises (Elbow, N.D.), Becci asked us to highlight any common themes amongst them in order to identify what was currently on our minds, and consequently write 'our truths'.
First Response & Inspiration
I knew from the offset I probably wasn't going to stick to this brief. Two weeks ago, I had a small epiphany where I realised that, whilst I usually write honestly and personally, I rarely write from my perspective. Instead I project myself into characters I create. I know why I do this, and I have little interest in writing 'my truth'. Even though this can create beautiful results, my mental well-being would suffer from inviting that type of scrutiny, so I decided it would be best to approach this a little differently.
The event that triggered this epiphany was actually a PMB1 brief, which had caused a panicked response on my part. From this I consciously registered how I process trauma through art - either telling a similar story through a character, or my own story hidden by a performative smokescreen (Robinson, 2017). For this brief I tried to be as 'me' as possible and decided that, although a character may have come across as more genuine, the latter approach would actually be more truthful.
Coincidentally after my small breakdown in PMB1, I started to write a song focusing not on what had caused the panic, but the feeling of panic itself. Ultimately, I was distracting myself, but this distraction produced a good hook, and a very good starting point for the rest of the song.
I know the song may not feel honest. It is definitely presented through a masquerade of hooks and syncopated ukulele, but this upbeat sound used to distract from lyric is a coping strategy I actually use to prevent panic attacks, and putting that into a song is as genuine as I'm comfortable with. I should probably pay more attention to the feedback Jenn and Becci provided suggesting I take another look at structure and pacing, but doing anything that alters the rushed, on-edge feeling of the piece, despite its chipper nature, might make the song less genuine - even if it makes it a better song.
A decision for another day, I think.
Elbow, P. (N.D.) How to Improve Your Writing through Freewriting Exercises. [Online] Available: http://peterelbow.com/pdfs/How_to_Write_Better_through_Freewriting_by_Peter_Elbow.pdf [Accessed 28 October 2019].
Robinson, J. (2017) Sing a sad song: how singer-songwriters are turning trauma into art. The Guardian. [Online] 6 March. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2017/mar/06/confessional-songs-songwriting-magnetic-fields-mount-eerie [Accessed 2 October 2019].