The Restless Slumber of Dry Kindling

It used to be the case that it didn’t take me long to write songs. I’d sit down with the guitar, fiddle around until I came across some chords that seemed good, make up a passable melody, and then move over to the computer and type some lyrics. Usually the process would take at most a couple hours. Then, I’d move straight into recording, bypassing the “practice” stage–the multiple takes were the practice. So I’d go from idea to mp3 in under a day.

Somewhere in college that changed…probably after I realized that the quality of both the idea and the mp3 were less than excellent. One of the effects of this realization was a drastically lower songwriting rate–from something like 12 a year at the end of high school to just a couple a year at the end of college. I’d like to think there was a proportional increase in song quality, but still, it was kind of sad to look back on a year and not have a lot to show for it, musically speaking. Although in truth, the songwriting hesitance had less to do with music theory and more to do with lyrics–I was just dissatisfied with everything I came up with; I was no longer writing “worship” lyrics, and I was no longer writing “how I’m feeling” lyrics, which meant that coming up with ideas was much, much harder.

All of the above is just meant to elucidate my surprise when, on Friday night, I sat down with the guitar, came up with a part I liked and a vocal melody to accompany it, and then in about an hour also had a complete set of lyrics for the song! I played it for Dav when he got back from hanging out with friends, and we decided to put it in the queue for the album we’re recording now. Hopefully that means you’ll get to hear it soon. It’s fairly original (I think) and is in 5/4, so I get props for that anyway. I called it “The Restless Slumber of Dry Kindling”, and I’ll reproduce the lyrics here:

Rising, a sliver, like the moon
Take me right away to doom
Hope shouldn't be the end of me
Yet whispers say I'm 23
Rugged, the way to sanity
A lonely, sad old colony
Overlooked by all who've gone before,
Easier to sail to other shores

More to the point is I don't know
Which way it is that I should go
Newness, a sharp-lit symmetry
Attractive; does reality
Speak up, gently colorize
Halting the heart's unconscious rise
Freezing the blood that wants to stir?
Hibernation is a lonely word

So wake me up, wake me up

Can't stop the fires
that are running
Through trenches
towards me

Oh no


If flame is the order of the day
Responsibility for fuel is laid
With you so don't waste our time
I can only sing so many rhymes
Love's only if I close my eyes
Still I can't help but look to the prize
Watchman's vigil in a tower room
Spiteful of the brazen rising moon

So how long, how long

Can't stop the fires
that are running
Through trenches
towards me

Oh no


Well, off to do more recording…

By Jonathan Lipps

Jonathan worked as a programmer in tech startups for several decades, but is also passionate about all kinds of creative pursuits and academic discussion. Jonathan has master’s degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively, and is working on another in theology. An American-Canadian, he lives in Vancouver, BC and has way too many hobbies.

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