Why -- write?, compose? Why do this, as we do?

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Why -- write?, compose? Why do this, as we do?

I was an ear shot away from a broadcast this morning, replaying Barbara Streisand in an interview, done very recently.

She said, in regard to "Songwriting" et al. "Performance", -- in her life, as a child, etc. --in her life:
"She was not seen".

"She spoke, --never heard. Invisible".

-- I had never heard this previously.

She explained that "this" can be a tremendous motivator to perform, so to speak (sing, write, act, paint, --perform).

-- What do you think?


Me? ~~

Interestingly, to me, -- I am known for explaining to folks, -- "I'm not invisible", and let me demonstrate that (and then I do per that context).

It's an unusual thing to experience (invisibility, --really), and (of this kind) has nothing to do with gender or size, race or religion, etc. One either "gets that", or they don't., --no shades of gray in this one. Barbara Streisand is a Caucasian, Female, Jew, -- I'm not; yet this Core Element, we do share as Human-beings.

However again, there is a kind of ~person~ people just don't "see", so to speak. Alternately speaking, if seen, -- seen, and engaged for other by more "savvy" folks of another kind. Then, too, positively speaking, --some do see them, and the artistic-fruit, of a kind is seen, if not *$ought for profit.

Again, some Write Lyrics, Some Sing, Some Perform, Some become Boxers, Some become Prostitutes/Strippers et al., Some become Powerful Bosses --power-positions (of many kinds, brutal, kind).

Yet, as well, in this generalization, --it seems, there are "children" who from birth are extremely well treated in life in general, -- and do as well? Do they?

So, I was wondering if there was a Generalized-template of sorts.

-- For me, writing songs has been a/the most satisfying thing to do.

I have, in my life, engaged a few of the other "Labels" too. Since, if you do well (define well), you may become, e.g. a "Boss" of a type, -- no vacuums in life it seems.

Because it is fun...

I understand the invisible thing very well, but that's not why I write. I write, because I always have. My earliest memories include songwriting. It's just what I do.

I write because Music is how I interface with the world. It is how I express myself and how I give back to the world. I've never really wanted to perform my music - I'd rather have someone who is a performer do that. I just write it. It goes where it wants.

I write because it's a fun and useful outlet for me.

Sanity purposes.

kc5's picture

I used to write stories, draw and write poems as a child--always sought out a quiet place away from the hullabaloo. The idea of writing songs never crossed my mind until they did--very late in life. I used to listen to songs as a teen, had a good memory for them and used to sing while doing dishes until someone commented on how it would sound good "IF"......and expected Barbara Streisand from a teen experimenting with sound, but I was just singing for my own enjoyment to pass the time. I stopped singing when others were around--too tender to deal with criticism as a teen. From then on believed I didn't have a singing voice until after I had my first child and decided if I wanted my child to have confidence I didn't have, I'd have to "fake it", so sang around others regardless of my beliefs--that lead to some new discoveries--many did like my voice and some did not. I decided to sing for those who do. I still get rattled from the start when singing in a crowd, but then get "into" the song and then I'm ok. Had an incident related to health late, late in life that spurred the songwriting and now its made a home in my soul. I'm more a songwriter than a performer, but I do like to sing, but find writing my most comfortable mode of expression.

@Adnama17 "Sanity purposes." That too. I refer to my music as therapy.

Because I can

Because I cannot not.

Why, to attract females, of course! Smile

@Dragondreams This is also the reason why I wear loafers.

+1 on @Adnama17 @Valerie Cox "sanity", and @Dragondreams "cannot not". Its my way to figure out how I fit in the universe, through past fears, and survival on overdrive. Its a deep passion to be that lone singer-songwriter with a guitar and a few people listening, like my musical heroes. To communicate and relate feelings. To translate my unique set of sensations.

I used to journal every day. At the end of a year, I'd have a thick pile of garbage. So now I try to write every day, even if it's only fifteen minutes. But I try to make something intriguing, funny, or whatever mood I'm in. Take elements of reality, and maybe combine it with something that wasn't real. At the end of the year, I have a bunch of lyrics. Maybe some of those get demos. It's a lot better than trying to read through those journals.

Hi @iveg, I still write journals. I assure you nobody wants to read them, not even me. Smile

But why we write song? For me it's more about like making a chair. You have to be able to sit on it without falling over because one leg is shorter than the other. Of course I put some personal feelings into it too, it wouldn't have any heart if I didn't, but I do it in a more general way.

When collabing I try to make something nice for the lyricist, so that we both could sit in our song and feel comfortable. My joints are too stiff to sit in the floor anyway.

I suppose I feel more like an artisan than artist. Or artisan first. Each approach has it's merits.

When I was little... 3, 4, 5... I used to make up songs while riding in the back of the car. When I was in elementary school I would write poems and stories. When I really became a trumpet player, I sort of stopped writing. I stopped for a very long time. Oddly enough, I picked it up again, mostly when I stopped being a college trumpet player. I got a little lost for a while after college, but I found myself again.

I understand the invisible thing. For me I sometimes feel like I'm "out of sight, out of mind." The people who know me would describe me as a "talented music" if asked, but when one of them needs a "talented musician" for a project or performance, or because they're starting a new group... my name never comes up. I think that's why I've been trying so hard to perform more lately... because I'm angry and I want to prove to those assholes who call themselves my friends that I am capable keeping up with them and more.

However, I write because it amuses me. Writing actually gets in the way of being more noticeable because the songs I write definitely don't have universal appeal. I could just be learning some fun bluegrass and folk rock and stuff like that, but I write because it amuses me and makes me happy. So it's a balancing act, and I don't know if I've found the right balance yet.

Music and writing got a hold on me early in life, and is now my life. Cannot imagine not doing it.

I think creativity is a fundamental part of the human experience - you only need to see young kids playing, or to remember your younger self, to realise just how insanely creative we actually are. However, we've built a society where for most people creativity is something they need to squeeze into that ever-shrinking space we call leisure time.

For me, I have a number of areas where I've tried to be creative and it acts an antidote to a very process-driven and mostly uncreative career in IT. Music has always been a passion of mine and I go through periods of songwriting - FAWM and 50/90 have helped make the current one more sustained than most in the past - that coupled with the endless sonic possibilities now available to me with DAW based music creation.

I'm a also reasonable photographer and had a fair crack at 3D game art. I've probably got a science fiction novel or two in me if I could muster the determination to put in the work.

But in the meantime, I need my creative outlet and right now it's music - if nothing else it keeps me sane in a world that tries its best to make me the opposite.

Often my music/writing/drawing is therapy. Other times it's an attempt to make myself smile. Jumping into these challenges has shown me my creations can sometimes make other people smile too. If I can cause someone to laugh or smile, or feel connected because of a shared emotion or belief, it feels like I've made a positive difference. Moving into my "senior" years has caused me to want to share fearlessly. I don't want my music/writing/drawing to die with me. I have hard days when the muse is shut down due to heavy emotions...but mostly the drive to create keeps me creating. I cannot not... Well said DD.

Wallowing again (no worries, this happens almost every time between challenges), in the "I suck, why am I doing this?" part of the creative cycle. Thought that this thread deserved a bump.

Nice bump Andy

I like to show off my talent. Every time one of these challenges come around "I can't wait". Hey, I'm invisible too just like Barbara was (is?). Think about it, where can we show the world our creative work? I don't do facebook or similar...so that's simply not an option. Actually, I post pictures to facebook once in a while as that is one of my hobbies. But the music? I tried and got ignored. To me, that's worse than getting bad comments. Musicians and Songwriters tend to understand that it takes time, effort, and talent to produce music to show off in FAWM and 5090. The average "5090 and FAWM" performers know that they are not going anywhere with the music. If I am wrong then where are the celebrities? Not in here. Also, we create experimental music a lot of the time. Celebrities don't have room to be experimenting. Also, we make friends by acknowledging our communities efforts (leaving comments). Back to facebook...they couldn't care less about any song that I do, period. Also, the judgement is not fare because you will probably be compared to Barbara Streisand if you try to showcase your music to the general public. Then again, you might be super talented...I don't know. I know my limits though. I'm pretty good and that's it.

Side note: I like making music. Smile

@AndyGetch - When I find myself in the "Why am I doing this?" phase, it's because I've listened to something that just blows me away. Like a few weeks ago, I popped Sgt. Pepper into the car CD player. Never mind the production - especially considering it was 1967! - it was the songwriting. I get that way with Bob Dylan's lyrics - the last song that made me realize the gulf between him and me was "Absolutely Sweet Marie." But then the other day I wrote a beer song, and I remembered that I'm really good at writing beer songs.
@jcollins - Totally with you on how a major part of the appeal of 50/90 and FAWM is being appreciated, and that appreciation often comes because we're all in this together. Occasionally I'll put a song on Facebook and a few of my friends will listen - one high school classmate in particular often comments. And there are a handful of local friends who are interested in what I do - at a jam session get-together a few weeks ago, a couple of friends asked if I had any new songs. And of course I did - one from the skirmish group that is helping me bridge that gap between FAWM and 50/90.

@Chip Withrow yes, being blown away was a factor. After the energy workshop Sunday I did some soul searching and found my answers. Once again I am doing the songwriting equivalent of what folks in counseling programs call comparing my insides to other peoples outsides. For me in songwriting that is comparing all of my couple hundred quick write very rough demo songs to the polished and professionally produced released CD's of a dozen or so songs in the same time period that had serious editing and got past all the hurdles to even be made at all. @jcollins I also discovered I was not giving my all in performance, so am still giving thought song selection and writing motivations. Also doing a gratitude list which includes being thankful for all of the songwriting support and resources here!

Hey Andy..., (not re-reading the thread, only last entries...) -- I relate to the comparison thing. Well, not me, --others. I believe many do that and they get how it would sound. Years ago folks with one foot in the business would say, "I'd love to hear this post production from a real studio".

It motivated me not to try, just do the live, on the street busker recording style. It's the best we all can do, as good as that gets, the live version, so to speak. If it sounds good that way and folks get it, well there you go, -- for me, anyway.

I know you said you love Producing... I agree, go for it if your passion. I'm not commenting on that. I just think, I know I can do a "good" job with SM57 and condenser ala MXR, get great saturation, presence, seperation, checked in headphones, car, 3" speaker... and no matter what, I still sound like me. Some seem to like that, so, try to be vocally intonated, with good air intentionally placed, the best me, chordally intonated.

If folks, imo, learned that first, and to hear their work as others do, they will take it, their work, as something new, that stands alone on itself. When I listen to, e.g. Jools Holland, etc., (new talent showcases), I know we have better "here" --FAWM, etc. Some of his guests are shockingly bad. It leaves me confused. I am not alone..., I have very critical..., wife and friends who don't like about half of what I do, --they say, "wow, even your worse song is anytime better...".

That, oddly?, keeps me motivated. I know I've been heard, and authentically. And, again, not "liking" does not mean it sucks.

I as some know, have no agenda..., truly, I turned down, 3 invitations in the past two months, 2 studio, 1 venue... I promise anyone it's just not worth the intestinal and spiritual gouging ... I simply, love to play, and, if can jam with others, all the better. I love that I can do a chord modulation with vocal that can make me feel something deep, though can't describe it. And so I do, every day in my house, and four walls, for decades... aside from any other, -- any other. I feel, it has to come from there first, anyway, imo.

If someone ever handed me a golden spoon deal, sure, -- I'll hold my breath for that.

Also, I love that here I met you, Chip, others here... I just really enjoy it, like morning coffee. And so, I, we continue.


(1) I'm an introvert... I write better than I speak.
(2) As mentioned by a few others ... therapy (I've been struggling with depression and anxiety for a while.)
(3) Invisability? F*ck yeah.. I feel invisable all the time...

@Chandra83 I have a similar condition. It's pretty bad...a lot of the time . I have a song you might be able to relate. Check it out = download.


I enjoyed listening, @jcollins

Beautifully done, @jcollins <3

I'm glad this thread has re-emerged - when the website restarts in June, hopefully this thread will get going again, too. I'm curious about those of you who keep going even though you've been doing these challenges for years, and I was just thinking about that this morning.
Since I started these challenges in 2008, I've written around 600 songs. Counting songs I've written outside of challenges going back to about 2005, I've written about 700 songs. What to do with all these songs?
Well, I had an idea today, and by putting it here in writing I'm at least semi-committing to trying it. I think Oct 1/end of 5090 might be a good time to start. I'd like to create a website/blog site at which I would post a song a day from my catalog (maybe re-recorded with just guitar and vocal because that's how I perform) and a yoga thought for the day. My occupation, by the way, is yoga teacher/studio co-owner.
I don't know if that many people would actually be interested in checking out such a site, but I'd be doing it for the commitment more so than the audience.
I suppose I'm sort of answering the original question - after all, my idea could also mean that my goal for 50/90 is to have enough songs to post a song a day for two years.

Yes, great thread bump. I think I do this because I love doing it. I've 'met' many great folks through FAWM and 50/90. Hearing what you all do challenges me to try better and do more musically myself. And getting to work with people in collaboration is great fun.
@Chandra83 Thanks for your expressive vulnerability in your lyrics. I appreciate working with you! Smile
@jcollins That's a powerful track. I know that feeling. And I know it's not true objectively but it doesn't stop it from rolling through the back of my mind on the regular.
@Chip Withrow I like your idea. I know I need to start logging my songs because I'm edging toward 200 written in the last year...
@nutation Great thread idea. Thanks for getting the ball rolling!

I like the idea by @Chip Withrow, I would listen and join, although my yoga thought of the day might occasionally be kinda odd :LOL: Hmmm, a re-recorded song a day outside of FAWM, 50/90, and NaSoAlMo/NaNoWriMo would be about 217 days. Hmmmm, would I stick with it? The idea definitely fits with this thread of why do this. The upside is I might find some forgotten good starts and old collaborations. It would at least spur the rewrites I have been putting off. (EDIT 5/13 After further thought I remember, hey, I have a website with a blog, I have stories behind the songs started in NaNoWriMo, I have songs posted on Bandcamp, maybe start with posting those, with pictures of paintings I have done.) Thanks @nutation, my favorite music is live, one voice and instrument per person. @metalfoot am with you on the song logging. @jcollins @Chandra83 wow, I sometimes feel that way too.

@metalfoot same to you! <3

Any suggestions for a good place to host a song-a-day/yoga thought-a-day site? The song skirmish site is WordPress, so I've become a bit familiar with how that works. My daughter uses Tumblr to blog - I think I created an account there years ago. And I used to have a domain name but I think I let it lapse.
Ideally, what I'd do is write a whole bunch of posts in advance and then share one a day. That's what I do with our Facebook business page.
I have enough songs in various categories that I could have a weekly theme - Valentine songs, beer songs, animal songs, sequel songs, nostalgia songs, etc.
I'm having a weekend full of creative ideas, it seems, musically and otherwise. Which also speaks to the original question of this thread.

Hey Chip, -- "out of the box thought"... from a long time ago, and still in place, google has groups that are email threaded, and admin-ed, securely. There were many music focused groups there at one time, then moved to FB. However they lost the subscription, Push aspect. So, I could get, securely, an email push feed of all, to 1x a week or none, etc.

It was great to get a 1x a day or 2x a day, same day update, and engage that rollup the next day, or etc.

I found that, that, has longevity. I still get a feed from one from circa '05, however rare now.

I had a FB group myself once... so many issues, challenges, spam, people-spam, etc. ... here, folks sign up from here, word of mouth, via thread notice/post, and are well admined, even with automation pending configuration, all initial posts of unknown folks can be automatically filtered, then "released"... for me, it's just friendlier than constantly letting people in, and removing for spam, etc. I presume many folks would just be known for a while from "here", just by this process.

Well, I go on... just a thought or three... maybe word press is the same, I have no idea ...

I was a quiet, well-behaved, easily ignored middle child. I liked it that way. I'm also an introvert.

I have a deep seated need to create. I'm also both lazy and want results quickly.

Some people have a solid practical art. It's a physical thing. It's in their hand. And, to share it with two different friends on different opposite sides of the country involves photos. This after they spend weeks or months on it. I have no patience for that. If I can only share a picture, I'll only create a picture.

But why share one picture, when I can share a whole array of them encoded in song and story? It's far more efficient than digital artistry or photography.

Efficiency... and madness. That's why I keep doing it.