Friday, June 01, 2018

Poetry Friday: Paul Simon

This was my last week of school with kids, though I may end up back there quite a bit this summer, getting ready for next year and doing summer library. While I've been grading exams and working in my room, I've been listening to lots of Paul Simon, who wrote some of the best songs for cleanup.  He's my choice these days, too, because he's on his farewell tour. I'd always hoped to hear him live sometime, and it's looking now as though it's not going to happen.  The show sounds fabulous, but it's too far away from me, so instead I've been listening to the albums I own, and even finding some songs on YouTube that I hadn't heard before.

In this video, as part of an interview with Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon says this about writing. Marsalis asks him how he could have written "The Sound of Silence" as such a young man.  He admits that after he wrote it he thought it was better than what he usually did, and then adds:

“I had no concept at all about what is magical about inspiration, you know, and I don’t think about inspiration at all, I don’t believe that you need inspiration, I don’t say I’m going to wait around until some inspiration comes, no, if I’m going to write I have to go to my writing space, and, you know, start to write.”

Later he says that when he was younger, if he liked a song, it was generally a hit.  That's not the case any more, but he's past that point now (and I'm sure it doesn't hurt that there's no longer any pressure to make money).  Instead, he says, “I’m only concentrating on, what can I make, and how can I do this without lying.”

How to choose what Paul Simon songs to love best?  I just can't.  I love it that he has an index on his website of all the songs and the full lyrics (here).  I do appreciate the music, but the lyrics are always the most important aspect for me, and I can't fully enjoy a song until I've figured out what it's saying.

I've posted Questions for the Angels before, and Something So Right, and Insomniac's Lullaby, and others, but the Graceland album is just the best there is, anywhere, ever, and this is one of the best songs on that album:

And here's a bonus:

Now that school is over, I am going to follow Paul Simon's advice and "go to my writing space, and you know, start to write."

This week's roundup is here.


jama said...

Thanks for the Paul Simon fix!! Enjoyed the videos. :)

Mary Lee said...

So much fun here! Happy end-of-the-year!

Linda B said...

Love the post, the way you've shown us your happy place as you clean up in the classroom, ending the year. I always needed that time, cleaning, messing, thinking of the students, and I listen to opera a lot, so that's what I played. I love Paul Simon's songs, too. Have you seen the recent picture book, When Paul Met Artie? It's done well and tells quite a bit of what happened way back when! Enjoy your vacation time, Ruth.

Tabatha said...

Had to laugh watching Stephen Colbert whistle! Thanks for the fun :-)

Buffy Silverman said...

Oh--gonna bookmark that index! Yep, perfect music for cleaning and all sorts of other tasks. Happy summer!

Kay said...

Yes yes yes--great music (and thanks for sharing the link to the index!) and great advice to just go to your writing space and write.

Linda Mitchell said...

Ruth, I love this post.....I love this post because this is your real voice. We will probably not meet in person any time soon because of distance. But, I feel like I was reading words from a friend here. You sound perfectly ready to go into your writing space. I wish you well and I wish you rest and recovery from this year. I look forward to what you write. And, I agree. Graceland is like, the best EVER!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Paul Simon is a favorite of mine, too. It's too bad you won't get to see him in person. Thanks for all the fun videos!