Near the cemetery you always find stone cutters and gardeners. Near the courthouse, lawyers’ offices and newsstands. In March, the silence of a park bench at four o’clock: The songwriter. Noticing things.
Late-winter sun stealing over the ground, an old woman drifting toward you in this light.
She catches your eye, she says, “where are you from?” And you say, “I’m from California.” And she says, “Oh, I was there, when my husband was alive, eight years ago.”
And then, if you just listen, she will tell you one of her most intimate feelings: “Oh, how I want to be there.”
And you realize she’s just given you gold, and over the next few days the muses will say to you, “OK, this has become a part of you, it’s a part of your sonic palette now. She has given you her story with the full weight of her heart. We will be making from this story something that wasn’t there before.”
When you’re a songwriter, the knowledge of everyone who ever lived will come upon you at the park bench, sooner or later, if only you stay there.