Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wolves They Bore

Two nights ago, I had this dream where I was in this swimming pool with an orca whale and I stabbed it with a spear until it died. Don't look at me like that. It's kill or be killed when it comes to Orcas.

(Richard Harris and Charlotte Rampling know what I'm talking about.)

Then we had a memorial service for the whale where I sang "The Song of Purple Summer" from Spring Awakening in the whale's memory. Upon waking up, I couldn't figure out why I thought it was appropriate to sing at the funeral for a whale I just killed. Where did I get off doing that? Oh, dream-self. You've got some balls on you.

Now in waking reality, ever since I had that dream, I've had "The Song of Purple Summer" stuck in my head. The thing with that song is that I make up all sorts of fake lyrics to it, because even if I'm listening to it on my ipod, all the extended vowels sounds trip me up. The words themselves are not that complicated, it's just that sometimes my brain thinks some vowels just belong to certain words. I'll give you a separate example. A while back I had to sing this song where the lyric was "fire is art, the wind your paintbrush." Poetic and simple enough. but the "a" in paintbrush was so drawn out, that half way through "paaaaaaint bruuuush!" my brain would disengage and sing the word it felt like - in this case, "paaaaaaavement!" Yup, "the wind, your pavement." That doesn't even make sense as poetry. I sang this made up line at every rehearsal. Luckily I stayed focused enough in performance to get it done right. But this "sing whatever the sounds make me think of" scenario has become more of a problem as I've gotten older. What will happen when I'm truly old? I see myself wrinkled and hunched over a music stand spitting at some young writer, "I'll sing the words I fucking FEEL like singing! Thank you very much, Mr. Lyricist!"

But back to Purple Summer. So there's this dramatic moment in all the choruses that's supposed to go:

and mares with neigh
with stallions that they mate
foals they've booooorn!

Without fail, I sing it thusly:

and mares with lay
with stallions that they mate

Yup. Wolves they've born. How can horses bare wolves? They can't. It makes no sense. It's not a conscious decision on my part to sing this nonsense lyric. I am aware heading into the chorus that I sing it wrong every time. But in my head, it gets to that part of the song and I just mentally picture horses sitting in the grass with wolf cubs running circles around them. There's something about the O-L-S when my mouth is forming the word that my brain says "oh, that's wolves! he's trying to say wolves!" You'd think the first letter being "F" that it would take the lead and shape the word, but it doesn't. A curious thing the mind.

Wind turning into pavement. Horses bearing wolf cubs. Maybe that truly is the wonder of Purple Summer. Or maybe I'm just losing my mind.

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