10:05pm: Curled up in bed, drifting toward sleep. The dead street lamp outside contributes to the empty blackness. The soft tumble of semi-wet clothing and the hum of the dryer are now inconsequential. The pains of the long day are slowly falling away as consciousness is fading.
Right then a melody floats from the darkness. Soft and steady; smooth and simple. Behind it comes a chord progression on an acoustic guitar; tuned down a half step it's dark, yet it moves steadily forward. Should I get up? Should I fumble with my cell phone to cast the little light I need to scribble incomprehensibly in the song book on the floor? Nah, I'll remember in the morning.
This tune plays over and over, piece by piece tumbling into place. Sleep waits through the first chorus then overwhelms.
7:35am: Awoken with a blank mind. What was that song I was playing in my head last night? Melody, chord progression, the whole dark, sweet, chill jam....gone. Figures.
8:17: Stomach now full of store brand wheat flakes and milk it's time for a long, hot shower to awaken my senses and hopefully my mind. As the steam fogs up the mirror I soothe away in the hot water.
As I soap up my hair and drum beat, steady and strong builds in my brain. Slowly but surely the whole song starts to fall together. Faster paced and more high energy than my semi-conscious diddy, I'm sure it's not the same. Before I know it I'm belting out the melody with nonsense words as if I'm singing a Nirvana tune that I've known for 10 years. Though my washing is done I linger until I remember that I do pay for water, and I jab at the handle as if it's a stop button on a boombox.
Since the mirror is too fogged for shaving, I hastily dress and run to my make-shift studio. I don't know where to start. The melody escapes me and the oh so perfect drum line beats no more.
I might be exagerating a bit, but this is basically the story of my life. All the right ideas popping into my head at the wrong times, in every wrong place. It could be around noon while walking the dog, 1:30 while eating out for lunch, or 5:43 while wrist deep in a bowl of raw ground beef getting dinner ready.
It happens everywhere and without warning. But of course that everywhere doesn't include while sitting in front of my computer, guitar in lap, mind on high alert. You might think that carrying a voice recorder or a notebook would be the solution. Sometimes, yes. But it's always those situations where I'm the least prepared and most apt to crack under the pressure of a great idea, that that seemingly great idea rears it's melodic head.
The ideas don't all disappear into oblivion, but most are never heard again. Some survive in pieces, never to be completed, left in a pile of the junk heap that is my head. I see it as my curse as a young songwriter. Maybe even a step toward that first big hit. But until then I'll still be humming a melody in my sleep, belting out a chorus in the shower, and running up the stairs, hands covered in raw meat, in search for the next great idea at the wrong time and in all the wrong places.