I'm particular about my notebooks. I always have been - it's just my tastes that have changed. In middle and high school I curated Mead composition books of stuff. They had to be wide-ruled, silver-sharpied, and made by Mead; no knockoffs were allowed. In them went my first attempts at songs that I would compose at night in Garageband and sloppily bounce for an auto-tuned demo the next morning. In them also went my fiction chapters for books I am still writing (still), drawings of fairies, notes from my friends, and scrawlings of boredom (vague mentions of boys, ugh). I couldn't conceive of having two notebooks at the same time. Where was the continuity in that?
I moved on to college and beyond - life ceased to be continuous (hint: it never was). In college, I took a songwriting course with the wonderful Mike Errico and blazed through six thin red Moleskines. In business school my mother gave me a Hobonichi Techo and a Midori. I collected fountain pens and washi tape; I began to draw again. Through all of the books, the songs ran like a thread - half cursive, half print, ever-increasing in internal rhyme.
It is a dream to have a well-designed page of song lyrics, and a dream also to have those song lyrics scatter onto the smooth pages of traveler's notebooks. "Over It" was born in a cheap school notebook my mother found in a store and added to her cart because she liked the size. It's printed, it's messy. Reading over what I crossed out, I feel my brain sink into the familiar writing traps, feel it catch, and finally relax when I read the words I finally chose.
It's the second oldest song on the album, written in October 2015. I was a marketing intern at the Orlando Philharmonic and slugging my way through the second year of my MBA. Overworked and under-caffeinated, I did a lot of my writing and mixing at the Park Avenue Starbucks in Winter Park in the thirty minutes I had to spare before morning classes.
The song itself is a retrospective; every bit of it is looking back. "All the Reasons Why" was the old title of a later track on the album, "If I Ran," and is referenced here. Summer visits to New York, my four-year stint in the Elm City - the memories mined here are my own, but how much of me ended up in this song is, as always, subject to the alchemy of songwriting (hint: I'll never tell). What is clear to me now is the challenge: "don't tell me that you're over it." Then, I often felt myself looking back while I was lonely in the present, changing my career and my geography all at once with uncertain results. I wasn't over it. And we never are, when things are falling apart around us and the center does not hold.
Songwriting and producing to me then are a reconstruction - the sounds and words of everything broken that I might be looking for. It's no science, but I hope it's a beautiful assembly.