Tales of 14-Songs-in-14-Days: Plenty o’ Nuthin’

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by Jan Seides
Wednesday 14th November, 2012, 8:43pm

I just noticed that I offered you, dear readers, the same song twice in a row. I’m about to remedy that, so you can stop being annoyed with me, and enjoy the two songs I’m sending this time.

There are often days during each challenge when I optimistically sit down to produce “today’s masterpiece”, and nothing comes out.  I’m currently suffering from upper respiratory distress caused by allergies, and wishing there was such a thing as a roto-rooter for my chest. Maybe then I could get at the air I know is trying to flow in and out. Well, the song is trying to flow out, but there’s too much junk in the way. For one thing, the dishes need washing, the shades need to be pulled up or down, the world needs to be fixed and myriad other tasks that interfere with the easy production of a song.

Every time I have faced the challenge with nothing in hand, though, something catches my ear, sometimes at the last possible minute, and the song is born.  Two pretty remarkable instances come immediately to mind.

The first one is from the Second Challenge, which occurred in July of 2010. On one of the evenings, I looked into my magic pockets, and found … well …. pocket lint. Nothing much of interest. A song about pocket lint would be permissible, of course. We are permitted to write crap. In fact, we are expected to write crap. As Pat Pattison says in all his classes, crap is aka fertilizer.  Note: In my humble opinion, however, my crap is not fertilizer, it is simply crap. End of note.

But, because I believe songs are everywhere, I started looking around the room to see if I could figure out where today’s song was hiding. Bookshelf? No. I didn’t feel literary. CD collection? (See how old-fashioned I am?) No. I’d be too tempted to copy some favorite song. Hmmmm….. What’s on my bulletin board? Oh. A bill that needs to be paid right now! AKA, a distraction. Take it down, pay it, get back to work. Dang it! There’s a plaster cast of my daughter’s hand when she was 5, and her first baby clothes in a showcase, and a picture of her in the bluebonnets when we returned to Austin from Los Angeles ….  Good material, but I’m not feeling it right now.

Suddenly my eye falls on my Kit Kat clock. I had coveted this kind of clock since I was a small child. One of my friend’s moms had one, black with white eyes, white numerals and a white bowtie. I loved the way its eyes went back and forth with its tail. My aunt had one in her kitchen. Hers was pink with rhinestones, which I thought was a little much, but I would have taken it, if she’d offered it to me.

When we first came back to Austin, I met a man who was so kind to me, and I tried as hard as I could to fall in love with him, but I couldn’t do it. (And all that was short-circuited when I met Andy and fell gaga in love with him.) But in the beginning of my friendship with this kind, sweet person, he gave me a KitKat clock for my birthday. After I realized it was no go with falling in love with him, and told him, I asked him if he wanted the clock back (hoping he didn’t). He said no, he thought I should have it. There wasn’t anyone else he could think of that would be as excited about it as I was.

Well, my clock was broken. It had leapt off the wall one afternoon, and when I picked it up, both hands were pointing at the 6. I’d explored its innards, and figured out how to make the eyes and tail move again, but I couldn’t make the hands do anything but hang there.  And that had been the case for a few weeks now. I got to thinking about time, and how we use it to organize our day, and straight-jacket ourselves within its confines. I don’t tell time. Time tells me. (That made it into the song, by the way.) I wished this was the only clock I had, so that I could pretend I had all the time in the world. That’s the song. “Hands of my Clock” is at the bottom of this post.

And then, in the third challenge….

This is in January 2011, and once again, I’m settling into the days effort, but this time I let the distractions happen. I can’t remember now what I was looking for, but I suddenly decided I needed to look for it RIGHT NOW, and toddled off, leaving the blank page behind. I have two in-box kind of desk accessory, except they’re under my desk, and I decided that was a likely place for whatever-it-was, and was suddenly brought up short by the discovery of the many letters from my Dad, who died in 2007 at the age of 92.  On one of the envelopes is a note to the mailman about how he is delivering this letter to the next great singer/songwriter star. There is lots of financial advice, little notes written on the backs of shopping lists, clippings from newspapers about Austin.  My Dad was a World War II veteran, who was shot down over France, and spent the remainder of the war in a German POW camp (while my sister was being born in Ohio), was liberated by Russian soldiers and pretty much walked back to Allied forces. He was a great parent, and to this day, each of his daughters believes she was his favorite. A very special man.

Well, I found his letters, and my heart thudded once in my chest, and then I started to read them, and there were tears, yes, but there were also smiles and even giggles, and then there was a song.  I’m pleased to report that the last three notes are D-A-D. It’s down below too.

The Hands on my Clock

My Dad






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