Karl’s answers to exercise 1 “backlit leaves”

As promised I’ll now share my own answers to exercise 1:

I saw this from the road:
Yellow maple or beech tree. The blackest, black bark, in stark contrast with the brilliant yellow leaves, lit from the back by the low sunlight.
This was my first thought:
Something so dark can still produce something so bright & beautiful.

1. How would you use this in song?
KB: I came up with the following lyrics:

“you fly by me so fast in the sun so low
I can feel you on the wind, I can feel you on the yellow wind
and I wonder from all this darkness how I know you still shine
and I wonder from all this darkness how I know you still shine
and I wonder from way down here……”

And here’s some iPhone audio of me trying it (plus a little slice of how I write..)
CLICK LINK TO PLAY AUDIOExercise1 Backlit Leaves

2. Is it important to be literal? or is it more important where the thoughts and images take us ultimately?

KB: If you are being true to your creative expression, there should never be a correct answer to this. My approach is usually to mix it up. Throwing in the abstract thought after something straight down the line, has impact. That’s what we’re after. Does the song move you? re-write until it grabs you emotionally.

What I loved about this exercise is that it made me aware that I have a song in me about how much I’m missing someone. These lyrics didn’t arrive with me for no reason. I’m now really keen to go away and finish this song… or maybe I’ll take the idea to Nashville with me in a few weeks and have someone help me! I’ll let you know.

Feel free to comment and /or share your own thoughts and ideas.

I hope you’ve enjoyed exercise 1, I’ll bring a new exercise to you soon. If I can do it before I leave for a festival I’m playing at next weekend, I will!

I’m so grateful to all the new followers who are flooding in on twitter @SngKarl
Thanks for being here.


6 responses to “Karl’s answers to exercise 1 “backlit leaves”

  1. most of the admittedly few songs I have written have ended up being about something entirely foreign to their starting point …. So your yellow leaves & black bark made me think about working it into a gunfighter ballad … maybe I’m just weird…. but tangents are a wonderful thing are they not?

  2. “and the bullets took one heart black as the bark
    and one gold as the sun on the leaves” ….

    hmmmm .. now I have to work out who & why & how & when & where …. might be worthwhile pursuing as an idea at that … but its gonna be tragic …

  3. “Tragic” has a certain appeal. My friend and producer, Michael Roberts, kept urging me to “kill the brother” in my song Oh How Softly. I of course, refused. I didn’t need tragic in that particular (almost) murder ballad.

  4. Great exercise Karl! This is what I came up with a bit of personification used:

    “I wonder how my beauty’s true?
    The sun so vivid shining through
    The darkness of my skin turns bright
    My yellow leaves contrast with light”

    I kind of looked over your answer to get inspiration, that moved me to write this verse

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