Saturday, February 22, 2014

I'm Pretty Sure That My iPhone Is Making Me Sick

I’m Pretty Sure That My iPhone is Making Me Sick

I’m pretty sure that my iPhone is making me sick
And still I can’ stop poking at the apps and the pics
Every time I hold it to my head
It makes the insides of my body feel like lead
Not to mention when the thing goes dead
I want to poke my eyes out with a stick
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that my iphone is making me sick.

I’m pretty sure that my iphone is making me stupid
It’s as if all my vast stores of knowledge have been pillaged and looted
If I don’t know a fact, I poke the question in Safari
I might recall your number but I’m sort of in a hurry
So I ask, and I’m reminded by Siri
It’s just as if we’re paired by an arrow of Cupid
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that my iphone is making me stupid

iphone, you’re like some magic wand!
Harry Potter’s got nothing on you
One day you’ll have an app for apparation!
Will there be anything that you can’t do?

I’m pretty sure that my iphone is wrecking my marriage
Even though my iphone and I go like a horse and a carriage
My husband says my face is turning green
From all that hunching over tiny screens
My children want to flush it down the can
Until they see that I have Instagram
And then they, too, step in the hologram
They’re walking the plank, they pledge to join me in bondage…
Yes, I’m pretty sure that my iPhone is wrecking my
Yes, I’m pretty sure that my iPhone is making me
Yes, I’m pretty sure that my iPhone is making me sick.

By Nerissa Nields
©2014 Peter Quince Productions ASCAP all rights reserved
Feb. 20, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

FAWM Halfway Check In

It's more than halfway through February, and I have seven songs written. I need to do something today or risk being mad at myself. We're in the Adirondacks for the long weekend, and it's cold, thick with snow and gorgeous here. Our Jetta couldn't make it up the steep driveway, so it's parked on the dirt road we live off of. We hiked everything in: food, luggage, violins, guitar, computer. Left the cross country skis in the car.

My first day on vacation is always a waste of sorts. A clearing out. I am useless, cranky, exhausted, depressed and non-functioning. This makes everyone in my family mad at me, which only exacerbates the problem, but today everyone, including me, is much better. We all had to readjust expectations and accept that we are not fully evolved beings quite yet. Things that helped: crying, telling the truth, making dinner together, listening to the 70s mix I made, and playing Attaturk. Jay can now read and write! This is quite an advantage in life, as is being able to play Attaturk.

Katryna helped a lot with FAWM. She said, "Don't think you're supposed to come up with 14 finished songs. Just get 14 song starts. We'll refine later." So that being said, I think many of these are very close:

1. Dave Hayes The Weather Guy
2. Everybody Needs a Witness
3. Turn It Around Again
4. Welcome Song
5. 12 Rocking Princesses
6. Snowblower
7. Skunk

I should also say, not that it has anything to do with anything, that all this not-being-able-to-get-up-the-driveway has us in New Car Lust mode. Suddenly, we need a car with AWD, even though in the almost 8 years since we've owned our Jetta, we've only regretted the front wheel drive twice. That Jetta gets 41 miles to the gallon. Plus it's paid for.

We also have two, count them two, silver trucks with 4WD, but neither one is appropriate for long family trips. And we are trying to sell one of them.

And finally, in the list of things that have nothing to do with FAWM, Elle wants a dog more than she wants anything in life. That child is determined (see: violin and cleverly tricking me into being YESM=Yelling Evil Suzuki Mom), and I think a dog might be in our future. Next car will depend on size of said beast.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

FAWM #3: Welcome Song for Guitar Students

I told my guitar students yesterday that I would write them a new "Hello" song. Currently, we've been using "Good Morning, Sunshine," which is the HooteNanny welcome song, written in 2006. It's pretty easy, but for a brand new beginner, the changes come fast. Plus there is a pesky F#m7 which is kind of advanced for newbies. I wanted to give the guitarists their own song, anyway. So here it is.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

FAWM Day #2 One down

I wrote my song! It took me all day, but it's finished, or close to. It's called "Dave Hayes the Weather Guy." I know he's Dave Hayes the Weather Nut, but "Nut" was just too silly for the song. I will post the video in a few days. Meanwhile, I am working on another song in E tuning, and it's killing me. I should go back to it. More soon. Here's the writerly advice for the day:

Saturday, February 01, 2014

FAWM Day One-Excuses, Excuses

It's February 1st, the beginning of February Album Writing Month, and I feel doomed because I have lost my journal. I am in the middle of my writing retreat, a Deep Retreat in which we spend all day Saturday (all day!) writing, with breaks for lunch, dinner, and of course singing tonight. It's 9:55am and I have already wasted 25 minutes of my writing time searching for this journal, making my cup of tea, reheating my cup of tea, gathering two different guitars, (one in standard, one in E tuning), finding my songwriting journal (different and NOT a replacement for my actual journal in which I have collected all my brilliant thoughts and ideas for writing this month). I also gathered three fat files from my filing cabinet full of crappy song starts from the 90s, plus some guitar lesson ideas and random sheet music. I made my bed. I made a new category of "Reminders" for my iphone, whose screen got wrecked this morning when, in the middle of my run, I answered a text from my sister and the thing flew out of my hands and shattered on the pavement. Naturally, I am thinking that I'll have to make a trip to the Apple store in Holyoke to get it replaced. This weekend. (Maybe I should go now.) I need to send out my newsletter to remind folks about the next retreat. And really, as I am sitting here not writing songs, I am contemplating the notion that I am more of a teacher than a writer now, anyway, and so maybe I should spend my time coming up with articles and blog posts instead of new songs. My Pete Seeger piece was published in today's Gazette. Maybe I should call the Gazette and see if I could be a writer for them! That would get me out of this songwriting gig.

I have written a lot of songs in my life. I have not counted them but figuring that I've averaged about 12 songs a year since I was 18––I am now 46––that's well over 300 songs. That seems about right.

Does the world really need any more songs by Nerissa Nields? Haven't I written enough? Can't I just keep singing my old songs?

To my right are two full bins of clean laundry waiting to be sorted. Maybe I should sort them. Maybe that would be a good thing for my right brain as I compose.

And what should I compose? I have a lot of ideas, and the ideas have no central axis. I have ideas for typical Nields teen age girl songs. I have ideas for spirituals and protest songs, and silly kids songs. We need to make a new CD this summer. I have to have the songs by then. This thought makes me want to pant like a nervous dog. I have an essay I want to finish. I am dying to get back to my novel The Big Idea, but I pledged to my novel group that I would not touch it until after February. I need to write songs. Where is my journal???

Ira Glass said this great thing about writing that I am just going to post right here:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
― Ira Glass

OK. A lot of work. The laundry will remain unfolded. I am hereby checking in to write a song. It might not be a song that ever sees the light of day, but right now, I will write a song. I'll let you know how it turns out tomorrow.