Random Thoughts

Photograph (Good-bye)

Key: Bb (Capo 3)

Tempo: moderate to slow waltz

This song, originally a poem, was born of an idea that arose in a conversation with my friend. I was relating some aspects of a draft/sketch that I wrote on 1/24/18, which revolves around the concept of trying to convery a sense of "You were always leaving, so when you finally left, it came as no surprise." (The original draft is very sketchy, so may never yield a worthwhile result on its own.)

The part in question reads:

When you left me with a parting glance
You looked as though you were fixing a memory

My intent was to convey a sense in the parting lover of this always being the last time she would ever leave, never to return, based on her pessimism about life and love. To convey the deep nihilism inherent in her feeling that anything good comes to end - and soon, and catastrophically (which it did - she confirmed her self-fulfilling prophecy quite nicely).

The imputed desire on her part was to freeze the moment, and the previous hours, in her mind forever, since her deepest belief - and, to some extent, plan - was that soon, a memory was all she would have.

It's a pretty dark look into a very dark worldview.

However, in the conversation with my friend (where I only paraphrased the concept I was working towards), she pointed out the other side of this "action", by using sending her daughter off to school as an example. The idea of always treating every parting as if it might be the last, and so imbuing it with as much value and meaning as possible. A happy solution to a sad possibility. It's like the reminder to tell your friends and family that you love them every chance you get, as it may be your last.

This turned over in my mind - and not for very long - as I realized how that this was one of the many simple ways we share love that was sorely lacking. I wanted to write about the positive side of parting words and looks.

And the look, the parting glance, became the "photograph" (originally "snapshot", but "photograph" is a much prettier word). The permanent, loving imprint in a lover's mind of oneself, and time spent together. A memory that is updated every time it recurs.

Then the poem that became this song spilled out before me. A few days later I was looking at it, and realized I had a sense of how the first two lines could be sung. A quick run-through in a random key quickly revealed that the rather random line lengths simply did not work in a song. After some rewriting and more attempts at playing, recoding, and listening to it, I also realized that the basic repetition of a few words here and there was not enough to anchor the listener in the gently looping emotions, and so I sat down and spent a few hours more on it, adding a lot more rhyme and rhythm to the lyrics.

That's how this song came to be. It is a lullaby, and an idealized vision of the sweetness that comes from feeling more loved every time we must part. I feel it could apply to any form of human relationship.

(back to words)

(Notes about the notes about the songs)

typos? comments? mail me here

© Huw Powell

Printer-friendly version - (no indent)