Week 46 and losing steam but not running out of songs or ideas, just wish we had more time to cater to them.
I wrote most of the lyrics to “Houses of Stone” in 1988 or 1989. It was just after receiving a gift from Dan. My very first CD! I didn’t even have a player but luckily my parents did and I lived with them at the time. He had heard this singer/songwriter, Edie Brickell and said he knew right away I would like her. I remember playing the CD for the first time and loving her for putting it out there. I loved Rickie Lee Jones and Edie Brickell seemed to have a similar appeal to me. “Houses of Stone” was an attempt on my part at the time to write a song, I imagined, was something like they might. imagined... ;-)
I wished Dan and I had more time with the song. I ended up using the time I normally would have spent on my vocals, building the wall. (isn't that always the case? building walls have their costs.) The idea for the wall came to me as I was considering how to show and not just tell the song. Es Devlin came to mind and a video I had watched of her making creations with boxes and paper. Just as I am no Edie, or Rickie Lee, I am also no Es. My humble, crude version of a wall would have to do, I told myself as I constructed the wall. I also listened to Ronald Reagan’s, famous wall speech from June 12, 1987. I paid particular attention to the way Reagan compared the wall to a scar and then quoted George Marshall (Secretary of State 1947-1949) “Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty desperation and chaos.” It occurred to me right then and there our wall needed some graffiti. Well, then one graffiti led to another and so on, etc… I don’t know if you can actually read the writing on the wall.
Something that occurred to me when we were done and I had the task of tearing the boxes down was how many times I had wished I had access to scenery to help show and not tell the song’s stories. Here was the answer, these boxes could be used in so many ways and yet I never gave it thought. In all those 45 songs we did this year, how did it not occur to me? Thank you Es for putting that video out there! Definitely look Es Devlin up if you are unfamiliar with her. She’s amazing at creating and arranging spaces of interest!! Perhaps she’ll inspire you. :-)
PS: just this evening before posting this I heard that we may find ourselves in a box and cardboard shortage this holiday season. So many people now shopping by mail and delivery services may create this shortage. PLEASE, look into donating your boxes to local vendors instead of recycling them and DOUBLE PLEASE, do not throw your recyclable cardboard away!! Many small companies that are already hurting from the pandemic are now shipping products to customers. Boxes may be a welcome donation to them. <3