Just some thoughts:
FOUR MINUTE NOVEL
I love and have great respect for those who can write. Who twist and turn, a story, hold our attention, take us places, make us feel in ways we seldom can or do. But those who write books have pages of time to tell their story.Songwriters no. Now there’s a different story. Songwriters they have only seconds, minutes say three or four minutes at best. What a craft it is.
The beauty of the songwriter is in that short period of time they allow the listener to “write in between the lines.” The songwriter causes the listener to visually see and think of more than just what they have written. He causes the listener to write beyond what he has.
Such an example from the pen of the great Texas writer Guy Clark.
LET HIM ROLL
He’s a wino, tried and true.
Done about everything there is to do.
He worked on freighters, he worked in bars
He worked on farms, ‘n he worked on cars.
It was white port, that put that look in his eye
That grown men get when they need to cry
And he sat down on the curb to rest
And his head just fell down on his chest
He said, “Every single day it gets
A little bit harder to handle and yet….”
And he lost the thread and his mind got cluttered
And the words just rolled off down in the gutter
Well he was elevator man in a cheap hotel
In exchange for the rent on a one room cell
He’s old in years beyond his time
Thanks to the world, and the white Port wine
So he says “Son,” he always called me son
He said, “Life for you has just begun”
And he told me the story that heard before
How he fell in love with a Dallas whore
Well he could cut through the years to the very night
When it ended, in a whore house fight
And she turned his last proposal down
In favor of being a girl about town
Now it’s been seventeen years right in line
And he ain’t been straight none of the time
Too many days of fightin’ the weather
And too many nights of not being together
So he died
In among the stubs from the welfare checks
Was a crumblin’ picture of a girl in a door
An address in Dallas, and nothin’ more
The welfare people provided the priest
A couple from the mission down the street
Sang Amazing Grace, and no one cried
“Cept woman in black, way off to the side
We all left and she was standing there
Black veil covering her silver hair
And ól One-Eyed John said her name was Alice
And she used to be a whore in Dallas
Let him roar, Lord let him roll
Bet he’s gone to Dallas rest his soul
Lord, he him roll, Lord let him roar
He always said that heaven
Was just a Dallas whore
Well if that is not a novel in four minutes I don’t know what is. Language a little straight but the pages are there.
Song written by the great Guy Clark.
March 20, 2020