A fun collaboration, the spoken word and more Wordsmoke….
If you’ve been in The Notebooks for awhile, you’ll know there’s a particular phrase I keep coming back to.
It cropped up recently in the context of the words that get written in exams, of which nothing is remembered or recorded. So too, in the context of things we say and forget, that vanish into thin air, like wordsmoke.
Treading the online froth, I think about it often. All those smoking words, impossible to grasp and insubstantial as air.
Life Litter is a newsletter about the things we leave behind: the detritus left in the wake of a life lived.
I often feel this boils down to just so much wordsmoke. As writers, we tend to imbue our every fart and utterance with undue significance — but really it’s all just wordsmoke, and most of it dissipates quickly upon release.
Things only have the significance we ascribe them and things only achieve significance when we look at them, when we write about them, when we crystallise a quotidian occurrence - something that would otherwise be gone. You can see the shape of it only briefly and indistinctly in the wordsmoke.
Recently,contacted me about a collaboration. He is a gifted musician and wanted to set some of my spoken words to music.
He has written on the merits of spoken word and how singing is not a prerequisite to lyrics, here:
What he says in that piece, the central point to me, is “what you are saying is more important than how well you are saying it.”
As someone who can’t sing or hear notes, and appreciates music chiefly for the lyrics, this resonates.
My favourite music is always the tune with the lyrics that mean something, that say something unusual or unexpected. I want tunes that implant image after lyrical image into my head.
It’s also why (you may have noticed) each of the installations in The Notebooks has a musical pairing, like wine and cheese. Words and music go together. They are the ultimate pairing that makes a good meal. Done right, the pairing nourishes. The music makes the words something more; a fuller meal.
I am several long steps beyond honoured thatthinks my words are worth his talented efforts. I don’t know much about music but I know when a tune bangs, and this bangs. He’s got a gift for making music that picks you up, sweeps you along and doesn’t let you go until it’s over.
So, what is the piece he chose to set to music?
Well, it’s Wordsmoke, of course.