Mixed Messages Day 34: Circles

Too often, our attention is interrupted, so we trade the possibility of long-term love for short bursts of dopamine. We trade the chance to make meaning for a cliche. It's a trap. One that ends with the ephemeral, instead of the eternal.


One way to delay gratification is by using circles. Circling is a form of staying with the problem, asking enough questions to truly understand, and not running when it gets difficult. As soon as the opportunity comes to chase a short term high, circle back to the relationship that means the most. The same is true for songwriting. When distracted by the next idea, go back to the song that's already started, and write the next section.


Mixed Messages #25 is nearly finished. I tweaked a few parts from yesterday, adding a vocal melody over the bridge. I'm not sure if it works yet, but it feels good to make this much progress. We are hitting our stride.


This is what I remember, and am living for a second time:
1) Make a mess, make mistakes
2) Pick the mistake that feels the best
3) Record it as fast as possible
4) Circle back to the mistake
5) Add a chorus
6) Circle back to the section
7) Add a bridge
8) Circle back to the song
9) Add a verse
10) Subtract the chorus
11) Circle back to the song
12) Write a new chorus
13) Edit, edit, edit
14) Think about deleting it all, then wait, sit with the tension, and understand that it's good enough
15) Finish the song
16) Drop it for a few days or weeks
17) Edit
18) Record the entire song
19) Breathe
20) Begin again


Circling back is a form of taking the long-road. It's what makes the music, the art, worth our attention.