Scribbled on the back of the handcrafted envelope from Miss Polly’s latest letter to me –
"Are you familiar with Doubletake magazine? No longer in existence, but awesome nonetheless. If you ever see back issues at the thrift shop or the like: Delve!"
If Miss Polly recommends something, I follow the trail. Experience has shown me that she often leads me to really good reading.
I enjoyed this article online, How Lyrics Work by Carly Simon from Doubletake magazine. Again and again, I am struck by the overlap and sameness in different forms of creativity. Carly Simon’s thoughts on writing lyrics apply just as well to making photographs.
My best songs are the ones that are closest to the moment of writing them, as well as singing them. When words work with a singer’s affirming voice, a song is born that can last, that will be played year after year on the radio. I don’t often write a singable melody, because I am hard on myself. I’m the only one who can complain to the composer! The mistakes I’ve made have largely been ones where I get carried away with how "interesting" I can be. Not wanting to bore myself or repeat myself or duplicate anybody, ever, I get into the human predicament of wishing to set myself apart by being "different." Often it diminishes me, because I don’t write a melody that everybody can sing, and as a result no one gets to hear it anyway.
I am continually asking myself, "Who is my audience?" If I am writing only to please myself, then why bother to record a song and then try to sell the recording? I think there needs to be a balance between writer and audience. A kind of compromise, a complicity, a nod and a wink. My best songs have an inherent, tacit understanding of this compromise–like the yellow line down the middle of a country road: you don’t watch it, but you know it’s there.
My best photographs come from a place of understanding and appreciation.