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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Job Security: The Lost American Ideal

Just finished my third season at Althea's Restaurant and agreed to a fourth season starting next January. This is in keeping with my lifelong work ethic of never leaving a job before I know where the next one is. I've always been a job security freak. That's why I can live comfortably now on a pension. It worries me that various members of my family don't share that need. I have a lot of scattered gigs booked between now and August. So I should have more time to work on recording this next CD.

When I have a big project like this facing me, my ADD shows. I'll probably start dozens of new songs before I buckle down and finish the ones I've chosen for the CD. Weird concept isn't it: Art as an avoidance mechanism for finishing art? But who knows what side streets will lead me into whole new boulevards of creativity? I've had several songs turn into completely different songs that way. And I'm in the position of having too many songs for one recording. It'll be interesting to see if the ones that don't make the cut will ever find there way onto a CD. I'll continue to perform them live when the spirit and situation move me.

So today's diversion away from finishing one song is to explore a lyric idea about security. See first paragraph-- told you I was ADD.

I like how John Mayer on his newish blues trio CD explores the word Gravity. "Please stay the hell away from. Gravity wants to bring me down..." But the word "security..." doesn't, to me, have the same kind of sound where you could just use it in a lyric gracefully. I blogged about this over a year ago. That is, a lot of words and phrases just don't do it for me in lyrics. "Chevy" is a terrific sounding word for a song about cars. Volkswagon is not. And I'm a guy who has had nothing but bad luck with Chevys. So for "Security," you need to hunt for either synonyms or metaphors.

The following paragraph, should you choose to dive in, is a stream of consciousness event on this subject. Feel free to skip it. breeds need for security...
people cling to that which keeps them safe from the things they fear the most. Even if that thing they cling to is fraught with a different kind of danger or unpleasantness. So a lack of confidence that you can find safety elsewhere can cause you to nest in a bed of repugnant hostility as opposed to uncertainty. The devil you know and all that. Women stay in abusive relationships, I've witnessed, for a variety of reasons. The ones I've seen are: security and the lack of confidence that she can find something else; fear of reprisal if she runs; and strangest to me, a pathological need to find pleasure in the pain. Woman who never got over the attraction to bad boys, dangerous boys, are most likely victims of the latter. But these are my own generalizations, not text book....Shakespeare's Falstaff seems to profess a particular disdain for security. He even rhymes "security" with "enemy" in Macbeth. Artemidorus warns Caesar ":...look about you: security gives way to conspiracy."
shelter asylum confidence refuge commitment haven fortress hideout respite...

Coming up with a hook metaphor for this concept is so difficult when I make a conscious effort to eliminate cliche's. Eliminating them is my crusade, in case you haven't been reading me that long. So that means unless I want to sell this song in Nashville, I have to avoid such phrases as "port in a storm," "lifeboat," "diamond in the rough." Now don't start on me about country music. It serves an important purpose. It's just not the way I choose to express myself. The fact that it's popular is proof that there is a need for it. I don't claim my way is better. It's just my way. And in reality, anything uttered that is really clever is destined to become a cliche'. I just don't choose to use already established ones.

Sometimes to get at a subject you have to go at it from it's opposite: Insecurity. I kept thinking of riding a rail to a definite, secure goal but that analogy doesn't work in America like it used to. Fewer people take trains. Busses seem to keep plummeting off highways. A song about a long distance bus trip on questionable tires could work. A life lived in a beat up Chevy in rest stops along the interstates, might be a good one. Make it one of those Korean Chevys. Ah, my revenge against Chevys.

ADD pops in again to report that I'm having a hard enough time figuring out a song order for the new CD without throwing this idea in the mix. So this has to go on another disc. And that's another way to say, this isn't happening today 'cause I have two gigs I want to get new songs ready for this week.

Futile exercise that? Not at all. Nothing is wasted when you take good notes. I'll mine this pit again pretty soon.

It was a lot of fun being featured on Woodnotwood's Music Monday last week. I made lots of new friends. I hope you'll stop by there often and see what Trisha's up to. Michael Manning published his second interview today about our good friend Denny Shane. Be sure and check that out.

Have a splendid Monday. I hope to have something up for Hump Day.

posted by Bud @ 7:09 PM

Good for you in maintaining job security. I always feel like after I finish a gig I will be unemployed the rest of my life. So far, so good ;-)
LisaB, I used to feel like I gave up a lot when I gave up the idea of writing for teaching. I guess I'm just not wired that way. I really need to know when and where the next gig is. As a unionized teacher, that isn't a problem. You just have to secure summer and weekend jobs. Oh and after school jobs. But I'm not complaining. I learned t love it. Your work is made even harder by the nature of it's insecurity and I have total respect and admiration for you.
Mornin' Bud :)
I was reminded while reading this about a song that someone (Johnny Cash maybe?) wrote about someone that worked on the assembly line in Detroit and stole parts of different makes of vehicles, smuggled them home and built a type of "Hienz 57" car out of them. Maybe it was a "Hienz 57 Chevy", lol!

I think ADD is why I have so many loose ends :D
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