Thursday, 13 May 2010

A song I wrote inspired by a book


I'd like to share a song today that I wrote after reading, Oranges are not the only fruit, by Jeanette Winterson. I was inspired to write this song because the idea of being raised in a place, and an environment, that you learn to despise as you grow older interests me. It interests me because some people never leave - they conform to their secluded and isolated little world as though no other exists. Yet others will go to lengths to escape from it.

I'm sure there are many young women out there who slowly develop dreams that are way beyond society's expectations for them - not society in general; the society they grew to understand and hate. And I'm sure there are many women who find the courage to escape into the bigger, better and brighter world that they think is ahead of them - if only they could leave the wretched place they were brought up in.

This song explores the need to escape, and those that have no desire to be a part of what is expected of them, or those that find they can no longer relate to anything around them. This song represents choosing  freedom despite it's consequences. This song represents believing in yourself, no matter what.

Below are the lyrics. Below the lyrics is the audio. Have a read, have a listen. Then tell me:

When you grew up, were you desperate to leave your home town? Why / Why not?


In this town

There is still a whole road ahead
And I need to find a room with a bed
I knew it wasn’t my time to be wed
So I fled the scene alone and in dread

I thought dreams would hold my hand along the way
‘Cause I don’t dream at night, I dream during the day
It’s a dusty road and no one’s out to play
‘Cause it’s Sunday morn’ and they’re all at church to prey

Chorus
In this town
In this town
In this town
In this beat up old dilapidated town
In this town
In this town
In this town
In this beat up old dilapidated town

The reason why these folks sleep on the street
S‘cause they ain’t got no money and they ain’t got no food to eat
‘Cause the man in charge don’t like poor folk, you see
So they drink stolen booze and survive on things for free

Chorus

Oh I tired real hard to marry the boy next door
But my mind ain’t my heart and my heart weren’t getting sore
So I left at the chapel and I stole this poor man’s car
Now I’ll run run run run run from here so far

Chorus
From this town
From this town
From this town
From this beat up old dilapidated town
From this town
From this town
From this town
From this beat up old dilapidated town
From this beat up old dilapidated town
From this beat up old dilapidated town


video

PS: For those new followers that don't have links on their profiles, you'll have to leave a comment somewhere for me to follow you in return! Please do, as I always follow those who follow me!

51 comments:

  1. I think it is a winderful song Jessica, such a pleasure to read.

    Have a lovely day.

    Yvonne.

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  2. I'm sure there are many young women out there who slowly develop dreams that are way beyond society's expectations for them - not just women. I was completely alone in my town, the only writer at least the only person with any serious ambitions as a writer but no one ever said, “Go follow your dream, Jimmy.” Oh, no. It was more, “What do you want to be a writer for? There’s no money to be made doing that.” I identified very strongly with Jeanette Winterson’s heroine especially the fact that she was brought up in a religion like that. I wasn’t gay but I wrote a poem called ‘Coming Out’ which was all about telling people you’re a poet and how they react. Great song BTW.

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  3. Thanks for your comment, Jim! Wow. So true. So silly of me to have confined it to women. I should have written 'people'. Sometimes I'm stuck in my own little world. Thanks so much for making that point, I really appreciate it!

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  4. The song is pretty good, but as good as it is, it's totally eclipsed by your voice!
    Candace sure wasn't kidding when she called you a fellow musician...

    If you don't mind my asking, just out of a hobbyist's curiosity...
    Are you doing your own chorus voices on separate tracks or do you have friends (or a band maybe) to sing with you? What kind of recording equipment do you have, a computer interface or a mixing table+stuff? Condenser mikes or dynamic?

    Thanks for sharing, it was an awesome late morning surprise.

    ------

    At some point I was eager to leave town because somehow I had gained a reputation; and it wasn't one I felt was worth spilling blood to maintain...
    But the generation of kids that had fostered that story eventually left before I did, so that when I left town, it was merely for practical circumstantial reasons. When I go back nowadays I only rarely have people recognize me and but when they do, they often come up and ask me "Hey, aren't you... Was it true that..." Realizing with their adult minds that the stories they heard as kids were highly unlikely. : j

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  5. Hi Alesa! Thanks :)

    I use Steinberg Cubase SX 3 and a condenser mike :) The other voices are me on separate tracks. I'm glad you liked it! :)

    If you're interested in hearing more of my stuff you can visit here :)

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  6. I agree wit Alesa, your voice is brilliant. You transform your words, which are so good in themselves into something else again.

    I'm in awe both of the ideas expressed and especially in our means of expressing them. Wow.

    I wonder what Jeanette Winterson would think to know that her book inspired such powerful singing and music.

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  7. I read many books I enjoy, but then move on. It's rare books that stick with you. It sounds like Jeanette Winterson's book was one of those.

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  8. Yes, I loved that song! The progress from reading the book to the writing of the song is an interesting connection.

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  9. Very nice. Have you visited my home town???

    Sure, I wanted out. I think most teens do to some extend. Some are serious when they blurt the words out but others just say it to be part of the crowd. I do think, however, that it's a sign of searching. We're all searching. At such a young age, I remember feeling like it was the only thing I could control...leaving, finding something better someplace else. Grass greener and all....
    Sheri~

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  10. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity...
    That confirmed a lot of my guesses. : j
    -
    Hmm... I am interested and I've listened to your entire playlist, and I am going back to my favorites. Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed it.
    -
    I'll avoid the "Oh your music reminds me of this or that" trap.

    The most striking thing about your music is your voice... You have a remarkable voice! One that your self-instrumentation doesn't always do justice to (the last pieces in the list aren't self instrumented right?).

    Of course this is merely my humble, anonymous, and unasked for point of view.

    I'm wondering whether to put up this comment as is or not... I guess I shall.

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  11. Alesa, some of the songs on that play list were done with a band I was in when I lived in Australia.

    Well, you are right, I know you are right. I'm not a very skilled guitar player, because I taught myself, and never learnt how to read music, or know names the of chords etc.

    I write all my music by ear and what my fingers can manage to co-ordinate! I get very frustrated with myself sometimes becasue I can't produce the music I REALLY want to produce, the music I can hear in my head, due to my lack of guitar playing skills!

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  12. I thought it might be something like that...

    Well, even now I think there is a large part of your idea coming through... Not as sharply or as much as it might, but it is coming through. And that's what hooked me.

    The physical skills you can and probably are getting, but the creative spark to create something great, something beautiful... that is much more exceptional. Besides, if you really needed one you could always get a guitarist. ; j

    The distance between what we want to create and what we produce is an obstacle that most creative people find themselves pushing against. You're in the company of the greatest creative minds in that.

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  13. Your voice is strong and plaintive- just perfect for the lyrics. I really enjoyed this post and how you were inspired by a book.

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  14. Um, 1) I love you. 2) You have an amazing voice 3) Great song that got me thinking...

    YES, I couldn't wait to get out of my hometown. No one reason, really. I just never felt like I fit right, there. Now I hate going back, even to visit family.

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  15. I can't listen to the music here at work so I feel like I'm missing a little something - but I love the lyrics and the theme of this song.

    I also can relate to this kind of yearning. I actually love my home town but I was sent away from there when I was young because my mom died. I couldn't wait to get away from the place (and people) I was sent to.

    You rock Jessica!

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  16. I escaped my hometown at 17- I went to college in a city where I knew nobody just to get away. Years later I came back, and I realize now that maybe it's not so bad.

    Beautiful song.

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  17. Great song. I still live in the same town I always have, so I haven't escaped. Not sure if I ever will. :)

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  18. I left my home town at the tender age of 9 and came back at 18. Searching for what I had all those years ago but it wasn't to be found.

    I think sometimes it's not a place, rather a situation a young girl might wish to escape from. For me I couldn't see beyond the haze of my reality till I turned 16
    and I walked out the door and never looked back. It took 2 years of living on my own before I would return to NY.

    I don't think I've ever truly been at home since. (Hugs)Indigo

    P.S. Loved the lyrics, profound.

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  19. Jessica -- you are so talented with a wonderful voice and great writing skills. Love the song!

    I never wanted to escape where I live. I live in a big city so there's always been plenty of opportunities. I've not grasped them as I've wanted to, but there's still time, right?

    Have a blessed day!

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  20. Jessica! Fantastic -- from voice to lyrics and back again, I loved this project. Your creativity is crazy inspiring!

    I was the girl in your song. I dreamed of escaping the minute I was old enough to develop an opinion. It's hard for me to go "home," too. I never blended in as a child, and now the differences I represent are stark and obvious to everyone. It's lonely to endure. I don't make it back often.

    Having lived on three continents, I believe everyone should escape their comfort zones for a time, experiencing the vastness of the world and its cultures. Anyone who choses to put down roots in their hometown after that has my unsolicited blessing.

    Hope your day is going great!

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  21. You're so talented! Great lyrics.

    And I wasn't desperate really. I knew I wanted to leave. I mean, living in a farming community of 700 wasn't my idea of a life. My parents still live there, and I like to visit, but I'll take my big city life. I like it better.

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  22. What a great book this must be to have inspired you in such an amazing way! Beautiful, Jessica - both lyrics and voice!

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  23. What a wonderful song! That's so awesome that you can take something you've read and turn it into an inspiration for music. Thanks for sharing this with us today!!

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  24. Just visiting your blog for the first time, and I love the song. Great lyrics.
    I think I was like most people. I alternated between wanting to leave and never see the place again, to being terrified at the thought of not being there.
    I never got out, and I've actually grown to like it.

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  25. AlliAllo ~
    Well, to be honest, in reading the lyrics I thought they were OK, however these lines really jumped out at me:

    "I thought dreams would hold my hand along the way
    ‘Cause I don’t dream at night, I dream during the day"

    "But my mind ain’t my heart"


    Those are great lines!

    In the chorus, you're describing the town's appearance and physical condition ("beat up, old, dilapidated town"), but it's not so much the town's appearance that affects the singer, right? Isn't it the confining, small-town mentality that really makes the singer want to run?

    So, I just sense that there's a better way to describe the town in the chorus than "beat up, old, and dilapidated". I think you need to turn your vision inward, not outward. Not how does it "look" but how does it make you "feel"? (But the meter of the chorus is great, I wouldn't change that at all!)

    Now having said all that, my opinion of the piece was greatly elevated when I actually listened to it. I liked it, and your voice and singing is what made it.

    Most song lyrics don't totally work as stand-alone pieces when read, and they need the music they were written for. I'd say this is OK on the page but quite good in the ear!

    Believe me or not, this song has a quality to it that would make it easily adapted to the Country-Western genre. This is something Patsy Cline could have sung and quite possibly have scored a Top 40 hit with. You dun good, AlliAllo.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

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  26. I was desperate to leave home and the DAY I turned 18, I was on a bus heading out of town!

    I love that song, it was me all those years ago. You've got talent!!

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  27. Stephen: Thanks! What a great compliment! But I beg to differ about that chorus line. I like think it represents both the visuals of the town and the state of the minds and bodies in it! ;)

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  28. Oh, yeah, and another point that just popped into my head: It doesn't help that the beat-up and dilapidated state of the town puts a dampner on her psyche. No one can possibly feel uplifted and motivated to fulfil a dream surrounded by such a visually unstimulating rut.

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  29. I really like the lyrics, even without the music. (That was great too, and your voice adds a tone that fits perfectly) There are many avenues of expression, thankfully, and no need to argue whether one is better than the other. Like the towns we grew up in-- some of us thrive when leaving to the outside but others of us still inside have hearts that would die if elsewhere. Our hearts beat to dreams that are ours alone. Very thought-provoking post. And thanks for sharing your music.

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  30. Wow! Is that you singing? Great voice and sequencing and your lyrics are awesome!

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  31. Yvonne: Thanks for listening :)

    Shannon: Thanks!

    Elizabeth: Wow, thank you. Hmm, and wouldn't I LOVE to know!!!

    Theresa: It is! You should get it!

    Carole: Thank you very much :)

    Sheri: Nope never. I think everyone must go through it during some point in their life.

    Paul: Thank you.

    Candy: Aw I Wuv You Too!

    Matthew: Nevermind. Maybe you can drop by and have listen later?

    Holly: Yes, I've experienced the same thing!

    Lindsay: Well, see I envy that.

    Indigo: I think most teens can't see past their own faces, I definitely couldn't, so you were definitely not alone!

    Lisa: Thanks!

    Nicole: Wow, inspiring? REally? Thanks so much! I couldn't agree more with you re exploring the world!

    Elana: Thanks. Yeah, I'm city gal too :)

    Talli: Thank you. you should read it, it's fantastic.

    B: Thanks! And thanks for stopping by.

    Write chick: Wow! new face :) I love new faces. I'm glad you liked the song!

    Alexis: Thank you!

    Lynn: Thanks very much. I'm glad I could provoke some thought.

    Katie: Yaha. :) Thanks!

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  32. This was fabulous, Jessica. Powerful stuff. It's funny, with this mournful content, you sort of have a southern US accent. (just interesting for an Aussie in Greece)

    I've always liked VISITING my home town because there are still people there I care about, but I could NEVER have lived there again after college. It was mostly about the expectations that follow you--not social norms so much, but very specific to ME and the kind of person people believed I was. I think a fresh start is good for everyone, and you never get that if you never go.

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  33. Hey-thanks for stopping by my blog today! Not sure how I've missed yours, but I found you now! dun dun dunnnnnn.

    And wow, songwriting. I'm impressed (*whispers* I'm SO not musically talented!)

    Um, yeah, I did everything in my power to escape the small town I grew up in. It's not a bad place. It's just...suburban Southern California. Kinda boring. So imagine my delight when my husband decided to move us back to where I came from. It's a good thing I love him. :)

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  34. Nicely done! The audio didn't work for me (work computer is lame) but the lyrics are great. I love when other writing / art inspires my own creativity.

    Desperate to leave home town? No..but glad when I discovered the city. Oddly, now that I'm *grown up* I crave the small town again. Well, that and New York :-)

    P.S. - I'm a follower.

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  35. Beautiful! This is an interesting concept. Hometowns are kind of like parents... They often create very ambivalent or extreme responses, of attachment and/or repulsion.

    It's also interesting how you are inspired by books to write songs. I often go the other way--hear a song and get inspired to write a story developing themes, images, or feelings from the song.

    Nice work!

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  36. Okay, you definitely have a talent. This was great.

    Personally, I couldn't even come close to writing a song inspired by a book - but I do let songs inspire me in my writing ideas :)

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  37. Yours is a beautiful voice, Jessica. And your lyrics haunt with the sad truth that our lives often are out of sync with our dreams.

    May your dreams come true in way that amaze you, Roland

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  38. I think that my experience was just the opposite. I was desperate to be still. I wanted to have long term friends. I wanted people to know me for more than one year. Great song.

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  39. Your song touched my heart. I came from a beat up (one horse town) where the best you could do was work at a supermarket and that's an understatement. The reasons I left when I graduated high school were numerous including the fact that most of the folks had low moral, something that happens when there's no opportunity to live your dreams.

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  40. Hi Jessica from your newest follower and possibly the one who lives closest to you....I also live in GREECE - IOANNINA - do you know it at all? If you do, then you probably know MOLOS and the lake and castle...

    I also lived in Sydney and spent my formative years there. I was devastated when my Mum died and my Father had to take us back to England - he couldn't cope on his own. Even though both sides of my family are British - I couldn't stand England. It was SO grey and wet...the kids teased us because we had an Aussie accent...people were definitely more miserable there!

    Although I went to University in the UK, I left and spent time in Berlin, before coming to Greece. I've been here a bit longer than you, though!

    You have a fabulous voice! I'm also familiar with some of your teaching material as I'm an English teacher here. Do you ever get to Ioannina?

    YASOO!

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  41. Ann! Oh my goodness! I'm emailing you now! :)

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. AlliAllo ~
    --> But I beg to differ about that chorus line. I like think it represents both the visuals of the town and the state of the minds and bodies in it!

    Ha! I was SURE this was how you would respond to that point. In fact, I considered beating you to the punch and stating in my original comment that you were probably considering the description representative of both. But, I'll stand on my first impression. I don't think it's clear enough that it represents "both the visuals of the town and the state of the minds..."

    In art, you know how you "feel" or "sense" things? I operate predominantly on a subconscious level, and "something" just tells me in an "itching" sort of way when there's another path, or I'm missing something and need to take another look.

    That "something" tells me that you would find an even more effective way of expressing this if you dig deeper. But heck, it's your song and I like it as it is anyway.

    --> No one can possibly feel uplifted and motivated to fulfil a dream surrounded by such a visually unstimulating rut.

    Well, I think that often fuels the fire. And I automatically assumed that aspect of this "story", so I don't think there's any disagreement in that. I mean, I think it all works, but some "inner itching" tells me the chorus could express more. But it's a good song and you sing it with real conviction.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McWhadoesiknow

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  44. AlliAllo ~
    OK, I just took another look at it, and here's what immediately came to me...
    You sing:

    In this town
    In this town
    In this town
    In this beat up old dilapidated town
    In this town
    In this town
    In this town
    In this beat up old dilapidated town

    I think it's the repeating of the same line about the "beat up old dilapidated town" that is causing the "itching". Maybe if the line was something different (but same meter) the second time. Maybe if you looked at the town from the "outside" the first time and from the "inside" the second?

    But anyway, I'm all thinked out for now. Yak Later, friend...

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

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  45. Got your e-mail and sent you one back ...that was AMAZING!

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  46. Dude. You're freakin' amazing :D Thanks for sharing that. Love the mood of it; love what it conjures in my head. NICE. JOB. :D

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  47. *applauds*

    Nice work.

    You have an award at my Dawn Embers blog. ;-)

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  48. Wow - that was awesome! Your voice is magnificent. You are so talented!

    I wanted to leave my hometown, but only because Michigan is too cold and has too much snow. I just wanted to head south and find the sun!

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  49. I read many books I enjoy, but then move on. It's rare books that stick with you. It sounds like Jeanette Winterson's book was one of those.
    post free classifieds

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