Ok, so, writing this went completely in a different direction than what I intended…
When I was younger I used to be afraid of of being forgotten. I worried that I would flow in and out of the lives of people without leaving a mark or imprint on their memory. Which is sort of ironic because my parents’ named me Sunshine and I have been told that’s a hard name to forget, mainly because there are so many damn songs with my name in it and that weather forecasters are even fond of reminding those that would rather not remember.
Now that I’m older I find worrying about being forgotten is silly and that the people who flow in and out of your lives do so for a reason and those moments and that time and space are the more crucial part, the parts of the story to pay attention to. This led me to worrying about being misunderstood in those crucial bits. The first time around that Paul and I were together he used to joke that I was too afraid of being misunderstood. He was right. He even mentioned it in a Downers song way after we had broken up the first time.
(or listen to the song at Last fm if you would rather)
“Words are never enough to explain anything and even if they were I would still feel the same.”
I knew when I first heard it that song was about me and my stupid need to explain and understand everything.
This flowed into my next relationship with the man described simply as “J” in my recent zines. After several years in that relationship I would come to understand that “J” was emotionally abusive. I was thinking the other day about this intersection of me coming into a relationship wanting to explain everything, wanting to understand everything and being met with “J” telling me that I didn’t make sense, that my ideas were flawed, that I was crazy and insecure because of wanting to explain everything. It took me years to realize that the reason”J” thought I was broken was because I didn’t see things like him. I guess that was one of the most important lessons I learned.
Actually, it is a lesson I have had to work through a few times: Sometimes my sanity is more important that making someone else happy and that I can’t please every one. I can’t fit into their boxes and sometimes it is ok to walk away from things and give up trying to explain myself or trying understand another person. All you can do is either accept someone as they are in relation to your boundaries.
Ah, boundaries, something else I have struggled with. I have struggled with this mainly because I can be ridiculously flexible. The gray area between what I absolutely do want and what I absolutely don’t want can be monstrous and, in the past, easily manipulated and abused. In recent years I have firmed these up a bit and made them a bit more visible to the people around me which has been helpful for the most part and sometimes frustrating at others.
that wasn’t really where I wanted to go with this…
I wanted to post Paul’s song Staring at you because it is one of my favorites that he has written… and not just because I know it was about me. I also wanted to write about the soundtrack to my latest zine and how Paul has coaxed me into writing songs with him. Which is pushing a different sort of boundary but in a good way. It pushes the boundary of my insecurities. I have always been intimidated by Paul’s perfect pitch and great rhythm, curious about music but not wanting to actually learn to play an instrument as past attempts have ended in failure. Music is really important to Paul and he suggested I write words and he writes music and then we both sing… which I also find intimidating.
Paul wrote a song called There’s A Lot In Life You Can’t Explain and had me sing back up vocals after drinking a few beers (you can fit There’s a lot in life you can’t explain here as the last song) then before my big autumn trip we sat down to work on lyrics for another song. The concept was our first date. See, this gets me back to the not wanting to be misunderstood bit. I fear that the song would sound disjointed if you didn’t really know what our first date was. It also makes me realize that I left a few details out of the zine.
Alex Wrekk and Paul Burke-Phoenix lights on the piano sounds so sad…
Ok, so on our first date we watched the Opera Carmen, went back to Paul’s house and listened to Frank Sinatra and then fell asleep listening to Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell on the night of the Pheonix Lights. There were these damn loud birds with a nest in the bush by his window that were really loud but his housemate’s skate ramp was louder so we made jokes about feeling sorry for the birds having to live with a skate ramp in their back yard. That’s me explaing things too much, sorry about that.
Paul played all the instruments and just had to wait for me to get home and drink enough liquid courage to get me into the basement studio to hit the Tascam 4-track. Paul was really stoked on the lo-fi-ness of the air organ recording: right into his computer mic in our dining room with people walking around.
Paul has been working on re-recording some songs and finding an order for them for the soundtrack. Most of it will be the stuff that was on the preview CD but there will be a few more songs added. We were thinking of pressing CDs but seems that most people just want the digital files so we are going to set it up as a setlist you can download instead.
In the end, I had a lot of fun working with Paul. It wasn’t as intimidating as I thought and I think we are going to continue to write more songs together.