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Week 15 "Glass Man"

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(@Anonymous)
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This assignment is baffling to me. Map out my songwriting process... geez..  Well... here goes anyway.

I'll use something that's been coming to me at a snails pace for a while.

There's a photograph by one of my favorite artists... Joel-Peter Witkin called "Glass Man"  (a warning to anyone curious... his work isnt exactly easy to look at). Its not anywhere close to my favorite work by him. but the title has always intrigued me. I wanted to write a song with that image of a Glass Man in mind. You'd see him everyday and not even notice he's there... the idea for a chorus has been with me for months. But i never really organised the rest of it and made it into anything. Perhaps a different means of writing can get this one out of my head.

i want the first verse to be about a fairly typical invisible person. the homeless man on the park bench. He spends all his time there and maybe feeds birds and mutters to no one in particular.

I want to personalize the chorus for each character. not much more to say here

the second verse i want to be about an every man sort of character. He's invisible becuase he blends with his surroundings. Does the things that we all do everyday.

the third character is darker.. maybe scary. you don't see him because you don't want to. Im not sure who he is yet.

And somewhere in there i'll have a bridge to bring things together. or maybe not. It depends on how it goes when I write it.

So there you have it. Stay tuned.
-Marv


   
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(@mattutaylor)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Excellent idea's, and i am really looking forward to seeing the final piece. Unfortunately i can offer no help with the chorus, try writing the verse and then see what comes with it maybe?


   
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(@davidhodge)
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This is indeed an intriguing concept. Are you going to go strictly with your Witkin inspired image or also work off of the physical properties of glass as well - that could help you to tie things together.

Looking forward to reading more on this.

Peace


   
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(@Anonymous)
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...and time marches on. Some ideas that seem alright when you have them never really pan out. So, having said that. I'm going to edit my storyboard a bit because its my song and I can so nyeah.

Dhodge said something about "the physical properties of glass" that made me reread my song and trash most of it.

Thanks. I think.

I took that and did a bit of reading. I went back to my Witkin photo. I read some things that the artist had to say about it. One thing that jumped out at me was a quote he used. Originally said by someone named Oldenberg who described glass as "Lightning trapped in sand". That's a song lyric if I've ever heard one.

I took that and some further ideas of my own and decided to narrow my story a bit. Instead of three characters I decided to focus on the story of one: the old man in the park. Glass Man sounds better than Glass Men any day.

So, revised story board goes like this.

We meet the old man in the park. Describe him and his habits.

The first chorus mentions how he's pretty much invisible to passers by. "They just see through him"

Second verse brings to light why he's here. He and his wife used to do this same ritual and after she died he's kept it up faithfully for years.

The next chorus talks about how he's just a shell of what he used to be. "Brittle and broken" or something

The final verse wraps up the meaning behind things. people rush around and ignore the simple things in life. This man has had all he's ever wanted and lost it. There's no urgency left in him anymore

the final chorus is the man just waiting. I think i'll use that "ligtning trapped in sand" line as a strong closer


   
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(@davidhodge)
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If you don't mind me saying so, "Wow!"

That's quite a narrowing down of focus, but I really think it's going to be more powerful. Very cool!

Peace


   
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(@Anonymous)
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Greetings Marv,

I've put off commenting on this for a while because I kept trying to find some constructive suggestions.  But frankly, the first version sounded really interesting, and the 2nd more focused version is even better.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress with this.  Also, I'm glad you chose only the title for your inspiration in this piece, and not the photo itself!

scratchmonkey


   
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(@Anonymous)
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Well I guess Scratch went looking for Glass Man (unless you were already familiar with it, in which case I applaud you. I suppose i should applaud you in either case).  Yes. The photo itself really does nothing for me. Witkin's other work can be quite beautiful though. If it doesnt turn your stomach first. Anyway. Posted below is a song that I've wrestled with and rewritten a hundred times since beggining it (though the first verse has somehow remained exactly the same throughout all of it). I'm still not sure about it. But he's out of my head. (And someone reading this just thought. "You're out of your head"). My clock says 3am. We're all a little mad at this time of night.

Stop me Mother, I'm rambling.

"Glass Man"

He sits on a bench in the park
To watch the world pass by him
Talks to himself
And feeds the birds
He wants to be just like them
And fly away
To some better place

He's just a glass man
You look right through him
And you keep walking
He's just a glass man

He's sat on that bench every day
Coming up on fifteen years
Since she passed on
He feeds the birds
Just like they used to do here
And he pretends
He's with her again

He's just a glass man
Brittle and broken
Tired and trembling
He's just a glass man

(bridge)
Its been said that life's too short
And there's no time to get things done
And that might be true for most
But for some life's just too long
The spirit waits
While the body holds on

Go ask the glass man
Perfectly patient
Lightning trapped in sand
He's just a glass man

-Marv

PS. One day i'll write a song with an even number of lines in the verse. 5 and 7 are my numbers lately.


   
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(@Anonymous)
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Hey Marv,

Yes I went and looked up the photo.  I had to redeem myself for using a word correctly, but not recognizing it as a word.  (doh!)

This song looks wonderful, as I expected it would.  The only thing about it that needs attention, (I think, and I hesitate to mention it) is your pet line, "Lightning trapped in sand".  I like that line perhaps almost as much as you do, but I don't think it fits there.  It almost looks gratuitous.  I think you could build the chorus around that line.  As it is, it looks like it was tossed in at the end.

In all, I think it's very good.  And I think  you can use as many or as few lines as you like.  You typically use them very well, so the (odd / even)ness doesn't really matter.

really good work, marv.

scratchmonkey


   
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(@Anonymous)
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I knew it! That line hasn't really worked for me either. I felt it was such a strong statement but it doesn't fit with the language that I use. I wanted something there to represent a soul sort of caught in stasis. Just waiting for release. That line sort of works for it but.. doesnt. I like the concept of the line I just can't figure a way to say it on my own.

-Marv


   
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(@Anonymous)
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Ok. So here goes. When in doubt. Go with simplicity. I changed the lightning line and now have the last chorus alluding back to the first verse. A continuation of daly events.

Go ask the glass man
Feeding his pigeons
Perfectly patient
He's just a glass man

Its not as dramatic. But simple is good I think.

-Marv


   
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 Bob
(@bob)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 908
 

I'll agree with the Lightning Trapped In Sand line.  It speaks of a frustration a need to break free which your main character doesn't seem to want, he's just waiting out time.  The rewrite works much better - simpler is better if only to give you a chance to re-evaluate.

My apologies if this was a particularly difficult assignment but I think you've produced something worthwhile out of it so it can't be all bad.

Bob  ;)

My Soundclick Page

You are what you eat, eat well


   
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(@Anonymous)
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Hey Marv,

What if you sort of dice that line up and spread it out over two lines?  Sort of like:

Go ask the glass man,
With his soul trapped inside him,
like lightning in sand,
He's just a glass man.

Just a thought.

scratchmonkey


   
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(@Anonymous)
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I agree with Bob's sentiment that lightning is too active a word to describe the character. Also. I think using my own words rather than someone elses gives the song more unity. If that makes sense

-Marv


   
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(@Anonymous)
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Of course, it makes perfect sense to me.  I feel that way too.  But I don't feel too comfortable with critiquing, so sometimes, instead of giving a well - formed critique, I try to show how I might approach it.  However, this type of activity (songwriting) can be intensely personal, and the option of whether to use or not use a suggestion is always left to the writer.  Don't worry, I'm not going to be personally affronted if you don't like or use a suggestion I make.  They're only suggestions.  Truth be told, I wouldn't critique stuff at all, because I don't think I'm exactly qualified to, but in a forum like this, which is designed to be collaborative, I think we're expected to.  And as one of the moderators said a few weeks ago, doing so helps me become a better writer.  So.... no worries man.  I like your Glass Man the way it is.  I hope we get to hear the MP3.

scratchmonkey


   
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(@Anonymous)
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To clarify. I didn't mean I didn't want to use your words over mine. I didn't want to use the quote "ligntning trapped in sand" because it doesn't fit the language that I use personally. Its too dramatic and drama is not my thing. That was by no means directed at you. And you're as qualified as anyone else to critique on here. Speaking of which. Im heading over to your tune now.

And im hoping to make an mp3 of this one. Thanks for your suggestion. Even if I don't use it its still nice to know there are people that care enough about my lyrics to want to make them better. Its a compliment to me when anyone takes the time to post anything at all under one of my songs.

-Marv


   
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