Friday, January 07, 2011

Interim Phase 1: The Journal Songs

I kept a personal journal for a long time - from early teens to early thirties, and for a good chunk of 8 or 9 years in there wrote almost daily. At some point very early in the century I felt like it had just become a workbook where I came and inscribed a reiteration of quotidian existential sorrows against which I was making no sort of progress and I quit. Its many volumes now squat in a couple of boxes tucked back into a dim shelf in the basement, daring me to do anything at all with it. I tried intentionally reading it a couple of times (when I was in the midst of writing it I would frequently browse over older material but this habit did not persist past its active life) but always came rather quickly up against some point in my life the recollection of which was painfully unpleasant. It is not always so great to encounter relatively sincere representations of your younger selves. I kind of prefer my less documented antecedent, who I can edit mentally as needed to not be quite such a dumbass.

So to date I've only done two things with the journals since they went into the boxes. When I compiled the questionable visual document of my existence we call The Bootstrap Gospel Graphic Novel, I scanned a bunch of small, cartoon-ish self-portraits I'd sketched in the books over the years (a habit that now brings to mind the inherently solipsistic nature of the journal, not that there's anything particularly wrong with that), printed copies of them and pasted them into a multi-page collage for the book's penultimate section, entitled "Spheres of Influence."

The other thing I did, quite recently, was to go through all the books and pull out the handful of incidental song lyrics I'd written in its pages over the years. There turned out to be rather less of these than I'd expected. The thing is, I had this very clear recollection of writing half a dozen songs and assumed this would translate into at least a couple dozen, considering the ones I didn't remember writing. But it turned out I remembered almost all the songs I'd written in my journals. I also deemed some number of my versical efforts to have been intended as poems, and have permitted myself the kindness of omitting them for this project, as they are awful. In any event, these are the most juvenile of the juvenilia about to be presented, though a certain persistent sensibility is evident from the start.

You can read an explanation of the origin of these lyrics here
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