Monday, January 9, 2017

Hatchet Baby and the Dead Mouse (Stories from the Basement)

originally posted at Medium
Hatchet Baby and the Dead Mouse
There is something about inhabiting the “50” decade. You start re-evaluating things. Not just your purpose or place in life but just things in general. You start making your dreaded bucket list. If you are a parent you may be wondering when that child in college will graduate and eventually move out or you might be terribly missing the kids who did exit the house hold off to find themselves in places far away.
In my case I am the one who moved away from my homeland of California out to the foreign woods of Georgia. While I still have one child slaying dragons in college to hug and hold, the other two are building lives back home brick by brick. Having cut out a sliver of the music writer pie in Cali along with connections galore to music venues and festivals the move to thisplace has set my feet in middle aged cement. I still write for my ever growing passion / music blog American Pancake but as of late my creative interests have been pulled at every turn back to song writing, back to playing and recording. Putting myself out there.
Oddly enough I find myself not writing about personal passions or stories, no I am way to insecure about revealing myself to others in that sort of real way. While I had thoughts of being a pure Dadaist type of composer by twisting my songs into musical puzzles I find I am too conventional to really do that. I have adopted a pure stream of consciousness style of lyric writing / imagining and amazingly enough while they may of not meant anything to me when I thought of the words, those words do serve as poetic license itself to bring meaning to those who hear them. Creating an aesthetic and words on the fly have made for some interesting song titles. Two come to mind that “Hatchet Baby” and “Dead Mouse”. The words “hatchet baby” literally fell from my lips as I played the strange drop d chords. “Dead Mouse” came to be from a self deprecating joke and not coalesced from the process of playing guitar but the words to the song were completely stream of consciousness stuff.
What is interesting to me is that upon closer reflection some of these stream of consciousness songs do seem to have meaning to me and about me after all. It is like my subconscious mind unwittingly has revealed itself. Take for example the song “Dead Mouse”. The phrase came to be when I joked about my beard looking the color of a dead mouse after I had tried dying out the gray. It was funny and I just thought it should be the title of a song. Weeks went by and then one day while writing a guitar section words sputtered out all at once.
I can’t sleep… I can’t dream… standing at the edge of the forest, the edge of the forest….
he’s mocking me…. with his shiny eyes… and bucktooth grin he’s waiting for the surprise
dead mouse is coming…. the dead mouse is coming… he’s staring at me
I can’t feel… I can’t touch… my tooth is burning but my eyes are numb, my eyes are numb
standing alone… in the hidden room… trying not to look at him and he is looking all too soon
dead mouse is coming…. the dead mouse is coming… he’s staring at me
Now someone who I know who is a talented writer of poetry took her stab at interpreting the song before she knew it was basically floral jibberish. She ascertained that the “Dead mouse” represented death or fear of death or growing older. Whoah. And that not being able to “feel” / “touch” represented not seeing the “dead mouse”. Again, Whoah.
I thought these theories were nothing more than just that until I realized that I was after all dying the gray out of my beard. And, yes when my father passed away and my mortality slapped me squarely across the jaw I did feel utterly numb and, in a way, have had a dulled numb sensation ever since. Maybe it is a cold hard fact that anything you imagine, anything that falls from your lips at a purely creative moment is about something and those somethings are about you pure and simple.
I am listening to “Dead Mouse” in an entirely different way and I just cannot imagine what “Hatchet Baby” might be about. For now I am afraid to look.
-Robb Donker

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