IDENTITY

Posted: November 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

If I ever wrote a book, I would start with a short discussion
of identity.

We are who we are. We are what we do  and what we think.
If we think we are someone we aren’t then we are someone
who thinks they are someone else.

That is not the same as being someone else.

This whole idea that someone really isn’t who they are
is a cheap way to sidestep identity while claiming to seek
identity.

The real me is the me that me is.

We don’t need a see-er to discover our identity.

If you don’t like who you are the3n you are someone
who does not like who you are. But I repeat myself.
You see, I am someone that repeats myself. Even if I
wished I wasn’t someone who repeats myself.

There I did it again.

Enter Annette

Posted: November 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

She was drunk and she was angry
And she wanted to kill River
Because her grand daughter told her
That River kicked her puppy
and then she didn’t want to kill River

She was just up set because her daughter
was doing drugs with Eric and I asked her
what her name was and she told me she
was Annette and by the time we finished I
suspect that she was sober but that was many
bony embraces later from a woman I’d never
met before who was as skinny as gray hound

She was skin and bones and cigarette smoke and
liquor held together by a sense of desperation
and a husband that was living too many blocks
from her but she said she’d kill herself if he ever
died and left her. That she’d like to have him meet
me because he was so much like me and I gave her
my new cd and she said that she would listen and
she said that she was afraid of the pit bull named
Precious but her grand daughter was not a liar and
if she said River kicked Precious that it had to be the
truth so I told her I’d kick a three-year-old puppy if
it was coming at my ankle and that I’d not die for
my children and I didn’t love my daughter and she
didn’t seem to understand that a father might not
love his daughter so I told her that Precious Silky
had never been respectful, and had left with her
mother and that I didn’t care if I ever saw her.

But she insisted my kids were special and that I
should take credit but when I consider the lack of
credit I’d get for River, the others made it come out
even…

FULL OF MYSELF

Posted: September 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

James Michael Taylor responds

by Jeff Prince

I talked to local songwriter James Michael Taylor the other day and asked about his recent nomination in the “Best Acoustic/Folk” category in this year’s Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards.

Taylor didn’t know he’d been nominated.

He looked in the paper and read this description by music writer Caroline Collier: “Veteran songsmith James Michael Taylor is prolific – he releases a new album about every other month – and is an open book, sharing stories from his life with an almost shameless abandon.”

Now, I’ve known Taylor for several years and gotta say he’s an interesting cat. We’ve had many conversations, which are always enlightening but sometimes hard to follow, at least on my end. He’s a deep thinker and a constant one, a mental explorer and active conversationalist, examining the pebble from every angle before tossing it over his shoulder.

He agreed with every word of Collier’s description except one — “shameless.”

That single word prompted this response [edited for length], which gives you an idea of Taylor’s mental gymnastics and prolific nature:

“I think what people say about me might be a bit of an oversimplification, maybe even a bit of myth-making, maybe just missing a very important point. I don’t just spill my guts, wear my heart on my sleeve, cry my sadness out as a self-indulgent narcissist/egocentric chronicle of my own personal life.

“I find universal echoes in the conversations I have with the people around me and I search the depths of my own understanding of my personal experiences for the pictures and words that embody these themes in song.

“Take for example [his song] ‘Sequoia Memories’ — Peggy and I never spent a night in the Sequoias. Peggy and I never stood on the cliffs above the Pacific coast watching the dolphins. I don’t know any girls in Indiana. The song says, ‘Though our stories may be different, our states of mind are the same… .’ That’s the point! What we have in common. Not what makes me different. Not what makes me special. It’s the opposite.

“ ‘Since You Went Away’ specifically tries to capture the moment of realizing, ‘We’re like everybody else.’ I don’t just stumble onto these songs, these subjects. People believe there really was a watermelon stand in Brownsville (‘Watermelon Wind’). People believe there really was a trailer court called ‘The Cozy West.’ I made these up.

“People believe these things are true not because I’m spilling my guts and exposing my life to them. They believe these stories because they are as real to them as they are to me. They ring true. Because I craft them in such a way as to leave it all open.

“Expressing oneself and communicating are two different, though not necessarily, exclusive things. I would suggest that what I do different from the boring songs we hear, even from otherwise great songwriters like John Fogerty, when they sing about their personal lives, wives, children, dogs and cats, grandfathers and grandmothers, is I write about ideas. I take ideas and clothe them in pictures and places and situations that resonate, and that examine those ideas in the light of our understanding. Our common perceptions. Our common culture. Our common literature.

“When I listen to the Beatles sing ‘We Can Work It Out’ do I think being able to work it out is something only the Beatles can do? Only John and Cynthia?

“There is something I recognize as significance when I peruse the landscape of my conversations. There is a conversation preceding nearly every song I write. Maybe with myself (I am running conversations constantly) or with the people I pester to talk with me (I am always probing and I find that most people don’t really enjoy being probed.)

“When I wrote ‘Natalie Likes Me A Lot’ I was retelling what someone else told me about what their boyfriend’s mother said to them about their boyfriend. I changed it to first person because it held an idea and it was simpler to tell it that way… .

“No given song tells the whole story. The best a song can do it catch an idea and hold it in the light for a few seconds… .”

2 Responses to “James Michael Taylor responds”

  1. jeff.prince says:

    By the way, this response by Taylor was a personal comment made from him to me.

    Someone just said to me, “Man, that guy sounds full of himself.”

    Keep in mind, Taylor’s detailed thoughts about being described as “shameless” — complete with references to his own song titles — were directed only at me, somebody who knows Taylor’s discography very well.

  2. anthony.mariani says:

    For the record, Taylor was NEVER described as “shameless.” His delivery was and as “ALMOST shameless.” (My caps.)

Hello world!

Posted: September 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

9/11/2011

consciousness returns

after a season of dreaming

time to let it go