Week 45: In the Grooves of my Mind

A dreamy song – with words that just spilled out of me one day, with no particular agenda. I was just enjoying the strange rhythm of the picking pattern and the new chords I’d discovered and decided to let the words go wherever they felt like going. And then the chorus suddenly became about longing for someone to come and blow me out of my ruts and repetitive thoughts – and maybe the song itself was the thing that I was hoping could do that, with it’s strange dreamy feeling. Maybe that’s what the creative process is all about, finding new ideas to jump you out of your ruts.

      Week 45 In the Grooves of my Mind - Simon Van Gend

45 In the grooves of my mind
Lyrics:
Living on unashamed
Live life like a game
Tap into the right side of your brain
Have a seat on the sand
Lovelight on demand
All your little blocks dream them away

Chorus:
In the grooves of my mind
I just cause erosion
Won’t you bring your stormwind to
Lift me and blow me away

Drifting on like a boat
Fade out like a note
Fade into the moment once again
Memories in the sun
Back when all was one
No catch or detached chatterbrain

Chorus

Not much could equal
This movie’s prequel
Still we must watch right to the end
Fate will awake you
Upend your horseshoe
Scatter your luck out in the wind
who’s to know where we go sleepy eyes dream the end

Through the memory maze
Echoes of my days
Rocks knock in the river in the rain
There’s a light on the shore
Fish flaps on the floor
Dumbstruck underneath the milky way

Chorus

Week 44: Sometimes the harder I try

I’d spent a few days labouring over this week’s song, and eventually after many frustrating hours realised I was flogging a dead horse. I finished it anyway, but hated it. Once it was done I was just relaxing and idly picking my guitar when a whole new song magically appeared, more or less about the frustrating process of trying so hard and getting nothing, and then getting what I want when I stop trying. A song about it’s own creation. Hope you like it.


44 Sometimes the harder I try
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Lyrics:

Sometimes the harder I try
The more I get lost in the failure to fly
And sometimes when I breeze along
without really trying I write my best song

There’s an old man inside me a wise man who knows when to fall,
when to fly, when my mean machinations are sucking me dry.
There’s an idiot too who gets lost and gets blue.
In the end, I believe they’ll see eye to eye and be friends.

Sometimes the sign on my door
Says don’t even bother I’ve been there before.
But sometimes I let it all in,
Taking my chances on songs that nobody will sing.

There’s an old man inside me a wise man who knows when to fall,
when to fly, when my mean machinations are sucking me dry.
There’s an idiot too who gets lost and gets blue.
In the end, I believe they’ll see eye to eye and be friends.

Week 43: Aloneness

A song about embracing aloneness. Learning to go in and find what’s inside as a solution to loneliness, rather than looking for someone else to fill in that space.


43 Aloneness
Lyrics

Slow down and take a moment to behold the potency in your aloneness
Watch now, your basic reflex as you try to deflect the pain in your soul
See how every distraction just leaves you a little more homeless
Feel now the joy in falling as you give up the fight and you lose control

The pressure we feel to join a club of two in bed or three in a pub
Or ten in a team, a flock in a church, nobody wants to be left in the lurch
But something in this frightens me, that in this need we’re never free
To think or speak our truest thoughts for fear of losing our support

Slow down and take a moment to behold the potency in your aloneness
You sigh, you feel so sorry cause you’ve got nobody to have and to hold
But watch out your need for loving might make you a little backboneless
Keep an eye on how you shape yourself to fit in somebody’s mold

Falling in love, it’s such a rush, it’s like a drug, you can’t get enough
Losing yourself for days or years, thinking you’ve found the cure for fear
But then one day the thrill is gone and once again you feel alone
Forced to face the fragile self you tried to lose in somebody else

Slow down and take a moment to behold the potency in your aloneness
Deep in the caves of silence hear that small voice soft and clear
Give love to the one you find there, long left lonely crying and hopeless
See those dark eyes brighten, rushing up to the world for air

Fly me high and fly me low, there’s so much to see, flying all alone
Lost in worlds inside of me, a million ways to be, out there on my own

Week 42: Like little fleas

Don’t ask me what all this means – one of those songs where I just allowed stuff to bubble to the surface and whenever something good popped up I’d add it to the lyrics. It’s an elusive thing – sometimes it seems so easy, but other times I can’t seem to access that mode of writing and it can become very frustrating. I guess it’s about learning to trust my unconscious and understanding that what seems like nonsense is sometimes really rich with meaning, even though it might take a psychoanalyst to work out what that meaning is.


42 Like little fleas
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Lyrics:
I sold my meanest face and all the wasted time for bags of nothing
I love the way you fold your grace and lay the roast deep in the oven
And don’t be such a ghost who coasts alone and lost from all my loving
It only takes a wish or two at most to push you back to buzzing

Each day I wake amazed at what my mind has raised in lazy dreaming
It casts a frazzled light across the day and colours it with feeling
I didn’t mean to fall away from all your silver starlight streaming
But it only takes a wish or two at most to push me back to beaming

Chorus:
Like little fleas we ride on the back of a dog
And the dog’s chasing a bird who’s chasing the sun
And the sun is sinking down down down
Even the one who rules the world
Is only a speck on a tiny rock
Near a tiny star on the edge of a galaxy
that’s one of billions and billions

And far along the road where love has gone you’ll see a thin man plodding
And where his horses felt they had enough and fell you’ll find him flogging
The thinnest wedge of fear can take you far from here and leave you longing
But it only takes a wish or two at most to push you back towards belonging

Chorus

It doesn’t matter how you feel about what you’ve done right
Or wrong or what you said to whom and when
Cause at the end of every day the sun still goes down down down

Week 41: Time to bring the watermelons in

I spend way too much time living in the future, as if it’s going to be somehow better. The thing is, it’s usually more or less the same as the present. And because I’m always waiting for better days, I’m seldom fully in the present, meaning I’m missing out on my life. So, this song is all about grabbing hold of the present and making the most of it.


41 Time to bring the watermelons in
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Lyrics:
All I ever do is think about what’s to come
And how it’s gonna be when my work is done
And all the joy I’m gonna feel when obstacles are overcome

No matter where or when or who I’m with
I’m always waiting for a bigger fish
And all my hopes are mixed up in this myth that the best is yet to come

Chorus:
This is the time, this is the place
Let the juice run down your face
It’s time to bring the watermelons in
All your wealth don’t leave it on the shelf
Help yourself to all that the moment brings

How long you gonna sit around and wait
For bigger fish to bite upon your bait,
For some sweet magical idea to wake you up to really being here?

Happiness is just over the hill
But over that one there’s another still
And even when you’ve reached the peak I bet that you will still find more to seek

Chorus

The urge to run from what’s inside of me
Keeps me trapped inside the yet to be
And like a stone I skip along the surface of the ocean that is me

Slowly I am learning how to sink
Beneath the layers of the thoughts I think
Into the world of what I feel where there’s a chance to make the moment real

Chorus

Week 40: Good to be home

Actually wrote this song just after I came back from America and had it on the backburner a while. While America was a great experience, I seemed to get really out of touch with the part of myself that the songs come from – all the rushing around and filling myself up with experiences left me very little time to know what I was really feeling. After I came home, it took me about two weeks before I felt settled again, and during that time I wrote a bunch of songs which somehow lacked some essential energy, and which I ended up ditching. This was written just as I was coming out of that phase, kind of reflecting on the process, and while I personally think it still suffers a little from that lack of energy, it’s an honest song about where the energy went and what I had to do to find it again.


40 Good to be home
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Lyrics:

It feels so good to be home
Empty my mind and fill up my soul
Lay myself down on the floor
Gather up my dreams washed up on the shore

Chorus:
Got the key to the heart of me and so
I go down to the catacombs where
Epiphanies like galaxies
And summer breezes wait for me

I’m sinking into my zone
Put the kettle on, turn off the telephone
I’ve been so up in the air
Moving so fast, going nowhere

Chorus

Great to be out in the world
Gathering my wisdom’s shiny new pearls
But now my head is so full
Gotta sort the truth from all the cock and bull

Chorus

I’m better lonely alone
than in the crowd just another unknown
so tired of trying to protect
myself from all this failure to connect

Chorus

Week 39: Wash over the world

A song to help me and hopefully others too, to find the time and space to sink into our feelings, and stir them up a bit and let them out. For whatever reason, I feel so much pressure not to feel what’s inside, to run into the thousand little things that we find to distract us every day, to stay focused on getting ahead, earning money, becoming something more to impress the world. But the only time I ever seem to find what I’m really looking for is when I turn inwards and go diving into my feelings. Enjoy.


39 Wash over the world
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Lyrics:
Turn up the evening don’t speak of leaving come listen I wrote you this song
All about dreaming and searching and feeling and crying for all that is gone
So tumble in to everything that gets you out and lets me in and reminds us of all that we are
Let’s shake these shadows lets fill the hollows with
Beautiful sorrows lets wallow in feelings
Bursting wide open and breaking through ceilings
Let’s open the floodgates and let it wash over the world

Some days I wake up I stare at my teacup and I’m aching and I don’t know why
It creeps through my life like a wolf in the moonlight howling away at the sky
I fade it out, I fade it in, I see it fall and rise again, a shadow on all that I see
And when it gets too much for me I let it win I set it free
With beautiful sorrows I wallow in feelings
Bursting wide open and breaking through ceilings
I open the floodgates and let it wash over the world

Sometimes I get so alone
like ET when he couldn’t phone home
Let’s ride our bikes through the sky
Up where the moon is, that’s where we’ll fly

Here comes the moonrise take off your disguise that only makes you more alone
Here in my garden all shame is pardoned and hardened ideas turn to foam
Let’s dive in the river that loves to deliver to those with the courage to swim
Let’s drift on emotion right down to the ocean
On beautiful sorrows let’s wallow in feelings
Bursting wide open and breaking through ceilings
Let’s open the floodgates and let it wash over the world
Let’s open the floodgates and let it wash over the world

Week 38: Lonely is only a word

This is actually the second attempt to write a song based on the guitar part in the verse, which I came up with a few months ago and wrote a whole song to, which I didn’t like much, but felt something needed to be done with the guitar part, so had another go and am much happier with this result. I didn’t really know what it was about until I stumbled on the chorus, via my usual method of singing nonsense until meaning emerges. A bit like fishing.


38 Lonely is only a word
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Lyrics:

We do the right we do the wrong we do our best when we’re all out of luck
We find a way to fade away the ache when it’s deep in our guts
The ticking of the mind beyond the borderline out gracing the grey
Breathe it in, breathe it out, fade it away

Chorus:
Sad is only a name
For all that leaves and never comes again
And lonely is only a word
For things that only you know only you know only you know
And please tell me why, we must fly, say that long, long, lonely goodbye

Driven by the weight all that I can take I fight my way on
Facing down the hate I fabricate a lake to sail away on
I wouldn’t waste the time to try to change the mind locked in this head
Roll down the window and love me instead

Chorus

Later in the week I found a way to speak and then I felt strong
But something in the way you moved the light away made me feel wrong
Somewhere in the dawn we lay upon the lawn and felt we were one
But just for a moment and then we moved on

Chorus

Week 37: Anxiety

What got me going on this one was the rhythm of the guitar part you hear in the verses – I think it’s 7/8. It had me hypnotised for a few hours, while I mumbled words, trying to find lines that fit this strange pattern. Slowly meanings started to emerge from the nonsense and, over the course of a couple of days the whole thing slowly came together. I’m really happy with this one – a strong contender I think for next year’s album. I recently put new strings on my Martin and it’s sounding really great here, especially with Chris Tuck‘s amazing recording and production skills – worth listening on headphones if you have.


37 Anxiety
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Lyrics:

I did all I could do
To be like the wind
To blow a hole in the heart of all that
Makes me think I’ve sinned

I’ve lived deep in the wrong
I took all I could take
I never thought I’d be naked baking
Shame deep in the cake

Hurt left an echo in my brain
Sweet watermelon summer stain

Chorus
Tiny worries bloom inside of me
I lie awake and watch the coastguard lying lost at sea
If you find her send her back to me
I couldn’t see her through these layers of anxiety

I never wanted a lot
Just the freedom to feel
To let the love of a summer evening
Fill me with its zeal

To stand proud in the world
To laugh hard at the fear
To catapult my emotions far and
Wide and high an clear

Hurt wove an aching in my bones
Those tiny lines drew me alone

Chorus

It’s not easy to see
Back to when it began
I try so hard to remember but I
Can’t see who I am

I try so hard to be cool
To be easy and free
To be the kind of compadre that might
Bring her back to me

Hurt left it’s patterns on my soul
These things are way beyond control

Chorus

Week 36: Freedom to Feel

I came across this quote somewhere, taken from a Jim Morrison interview:

People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.

You can read the whole interview here. This summed up so much of what I believe so well, and got me thinking I should try to say something about it in a song. As usual I had the tune and the chords and the rhythm before I found the lyrics, but once I knew what I was wanting to say the lyrics came quite quickly.


36 Freedom to feel
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Lyrics

For days I waited lonely I was shifting my gaze back to the ways I’ve been hoping for praise in the deep dark mazes of love
Find me a love who’s lonely one who knows what’s true the way the lonely do who can see right through what I do when I can’t find love

I feel like a one horse trailer to a film about a shipwrecked sailor alone at the end of the world dreaming about love
And though his mind is aching his heart flies out where the waves are breaking, across the water blown on by the winds of love

Oh what has become
Of all my freedom to feel
Every little ache every ripple in the lake every little sign that my soul is awake?
And oh what is this shame
Deep in the heart of my pain?
Makes it feel so wrong to sing my saddest song, I turn away from my soul again

This world is jammed with subtle signs that tingle and tease the mind
And promise you the earth if you just learn to hide your pain
Such sweet and subtle violence all complicit in this code of silence don’t cry just got to do what you can to maintain

What have we done
With all our freedom to feel
Every little ache every ripple in the lake every little sign that your soul is awake?
And oh what is this shame
Deep in the heart of our pain?
Makes it feel so wrong to sing your saddest song, you turn away from your soul again

I hear the little children crying in the dark, slowly fading, slowly caving and behaving in the way they must
To some it’s just a tantrum but I call that a freedom anthem come on love me and help me to learn how to trust

What have we done
With all our freedom to feel
Every little ache every ripple in the lake every little sign that your soul is awake?
Oh what is this shame
Deep in the heart of our pain?
Makes it feel so wrong to sing your saddest song, you turn away from your soul again