I can tap into my feelings of grief at the drop of a hat, or milk carton for that matter. I've jokingly told people that I can cry on demand, and in truth, I can. All it takes is a little method acting, a conscious decision to think about all the things that hurt and boom, waterworks.
I'm still trying to decide what kind of songs to work on. I had felt that getting all of the angst out would be a good idea, but now I'm not so sure. A while ago I read this, and while some of the arguments in the comments were over my head, the basic gist rang true to me.
The Freudian notion of repression might not be what I'm doing. I feel sad lots, I think about and clearly remember the things that led me to my current mental state. Is that repression? Somehow I don't think so. If it's not repression, what good am I going to do by writing songs about it?
What if expressing the sadness is merely reinforcing it, building up neurons in the areas of my brain devoted to those feelings. What if I'm practicing sad? Wouldn't it be better to practice happy? And how the hell would I do that anyway?
The best argument I have for writing sad songs* is that I can sing them with conviction. Total honesty even. It doesn't take me any effort to inhabit that sort of song. I'm a lousy singer and not having to "fake it till ya make it" on the emotional expression appeals to me. Hell, it might be the only thing I have going for me as a singer.
My musical life is shifting again and making this question relevant. The band is recording again and around the time that finishes our practice space could go away. If that happens and we have a recording that most of us are happy with, well, I suspect the band will fold. There really isn't a lot of motivation in the group anymore. So, it looks like the digital recorder is going to be my primary musical outlet in the near future. Which means writing songs, which means making a decision.
What's it to be: sincere sadness or cartoon joy?
*No, not because they "...say so much." No offense to Mr.'s John and Taupin, but that's got to be the worst lyric in the history of pop.