Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Sleepwalker's Bed: Making My Own Fairy Tale



This song is a feminist anthem.

No, I'm serious! Okay, okay, let me back up.

I wrote this song about a boy. Surprise, surprise. I thought he would save me — not just my soul, but my music as well.

You see, he was a keyboard player, one I considered much more skilled than I was. He could improvise and I couldn't; he made all sorts of nice synth arrangements when I was trapped in piano/vocal; he was in two (relatively) successful local bands and I rarely played my own music live. Becoming his girlfriend felt like watching my ship come in. I saw this future where we played in bands together, he produced my records, and we got married at like 18.

Needless to say, that never happened (and thank heavens it didn't — it would've been domesticide, just like the book trailer!). But I wrote this song about him. It originally had a one-handed piano part and an unsingable vocal line so rapid that all the words got mushed together in an endless breathy whisper. Despite encouragement from friends who praised its innocence and vulnerability, I shelved it.

Then came college, where I learned how to do things that previously seemed outside my own capabilities. I made my own arrangements, I started playing my own music live, and I even learned how to improvise (a little). And I found the courage to pick up this song again and rewrite it.

Instead of waiting for someone else to swoop in and save my music for me, I did it myself. That's the whole story of A History of Sleepwalking, really. To make my own fairy tale.

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