Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poetry vs. Music = Lyrics

These are two of the things I love most on earth -- music and poetry. They have made me into the woman I am and I shudder to think where I would be without them.

First, some background...

Creative writing classes in high school and college helped me blossom creatively and find out more about my identity. They taught me how to think critically about a piece of literature/composition and draw meaning out that applies to normal life.

Then, came along rock 'n' roll. Strutting his stuff in a hot, leather jacket and tight, torn blue jeans. I was drooling on the floor after the first song.

I lost my shit when the mid-90s Riot Grrl whatever era exploded with bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Babes in Toyland, Liz Phair, Hole, L7, Seven Year Bitch and so many more. Their aggressive, angry music did something to me when I was a teenager. Not that some of them were the best musicians or singers, but their guts and willingness to put themselves out there grabbed hold of me. I was angry about not fitting in at my dumb high school and hearing nasty rumors about myself that were never true. I was angry about my parents making me go to a church where I felt like an outcast. While my plight could have been much MUCH worse, music and poetry helped me surive. Prom queens and cheerleaders were dating dopey boys and plastering their faces with make-up while I filled journal after journal in my room, played in marching/concert band and listened to CDs by rock bands five people at my high school had heard of. Despite the church torture, my folks got me my first Peavey electric guitar when I was 13 and I started playing along to my rowdy rocker girl songs and dreaming big about being in a band. Eventually, college, live music, wild nights, playing open mics, playing gigs in a full band with flyers, meeting people with interests like me! Shit yes!

Since this love affair with rock 'n' roll has begun, poetry has taken a back seat and he doesn't get much action back there. I did a few readings of my poetry at various open mics and gatherings during college and this always felt like the most naked experience. No band, no guitar, no one else up there with me. Just me, my voice, my awkward words for the world to hear. Somtimes, I miss poetry intensely. I want to call him up and say "Baby, let's get back together like we used to be." But then, lyrics came on the scene and now I can't look back.

Writing lyrics and setting them to original music written with a band is about the best thing I have ever experienced. It is pure passion, sweet revenge, ultimate self-expression. I am one lucky bitch. Haha!


  1. Yay, someone started this! Love the Riot Grrrl reference, I was/am a fan, too - Bikini Kill Radio is the best Pandora station eva.

  2. I think many of us were influenced by music during that coming of age time in our lives. I didn't really find Rock N Roll till I was in college, before that I was immersed in The Musicals of the late 80s, early 90s. I could at one point have sung the entire libretto of Les Miserables (although you mayn't have wanted me to!) and several others.

    The whole ritual of performance, whether it is spoken word or performing with music, dance, or even hanging a painting in a gallery, is cathartic and energizing. It is the last step in the artistic process, and for me, the hardest. Opening up your creative work to evaluation is terrifying, but necessary if you want your work to reach people.

    I seem to recall attending a few poetry readings with you a few years back. Man, it was intimidating, but really, really good for my soul. I kind of wish there were more opportunities for "early to bed, early to risers" like me to get out there and do that sort of thing.

    Keep on Rockin, I can't wait to get a chance to see the Sneakies play!

  3. Slappy: Yay Riot Grrls! Pandora is great. I've been listening to it trying to find some new music. Most of what I listen to is 90s music. I need to branch out!

    Serafina: I like what you said, "Opening up your creative work to evaluation is terrifying, but necessary if you want your work to reach people." Yes, it is hard to hear criticism and be rejected for various freelance gigs and jobs as professional writer and as a personal writer, but all of those experiences have just made me want to try harder (after I cried or pouted a little :).

    I do wish there were more early riser opportunities myself. Perhaps it would be fun to go to B___ M____ open mic (starts at 8pm) and read poems. I've thought of playing acoustic guitar there by myself because it scares me so bad to do that, but I feel like I achieved something after.