My New Song

For the past four months, I have been wanting to write a song for Megan. I finally did it, but it was a long, painful process. I've discovered that writing a song FOR someone is a lot different than writing a song ABOUT someone, or even TO someone.

The most obvious reason is that when you're writing a song FOR someone, you want the song to be its absolute best for the person you are writing it for. You're giving that person your song as a gift, so you want it to be its best and as meaningful as possible (as is the case with Elton John's "Your Song"). When you're writing a song ABOUT someone, all you're really doing is using lyrics to describe the person's attitude or behaviour or your feelings towards the person. You're not really writing to impress anyone, except maybe your audience, because you don't really care what the person you're writing about thinks about your song (as is the case with Peter Gabriel's "Biko"). Then there's writing a song TO someone (which can be mistaken for writing a song for someone) -- the key difference between these two prepositions, TO and FOR, is that one is simply an address and the other implies a gifting. When you're writing a song TO someone, you're just making sure they got the message -- you're not trying to impress or please or shame them, you're just sending them a message (as is the case with Graham Nash's "Immigration Man").

I really wanted to impress Megan with this song that I wanted to write for her, but I struggled all the way through it. In fact, in an effort to write a meaningful song for her, I squeaked out a poppy ukulele song simply called "I Like You" -- deep, sentimental, meaningful? Probably not. Fun, upbeat and catchy? Most definitely.

So, for four months, this song became my labor of love. I sweated and toiled over it day and night, using alternate tunings and rhyming dictionaries and a thesaurus to come up with the most beautiful song ever written. Then I listened to Ben Folds' "The Luckiest" one day and after paying more attention to the lyrics than I ever have before, I realized that sometimes the most beautiful songs can be the simplest and most straightforward -- that maybe I didn't need to use a lot of flash and pizzazz; that maybe I could just say how I feel.

I asked myself "What do you really want to say to Megan? How do you really feel about her?" And the only answer I could come up with was "I want her to be near me."

And so I wrote "Champagne Eyes:"

I wish you here with me
I wish you by my side
And even if you can't be
I wish you to be my bride

How long will it take?
How long will you stay far from me?
How long must I wait?
How long will I be without you?

So, lay here by my side
And I'll watch the sun rise in your champagne eyes

I wish you here with me
I wish you by my side
And even if you can't be
I wish you to share my life

How long will it take?
How long will you stay far from me?
How long must I wait?
How long will I be without you?

Although the song isn't completely finished (I'd like to add drums), the demo is available for download at www.myspace.com/drewmoodymusic.


My Inability to Write

I wrote a prologue for the book I'm working on today.

As some of you may recall, I had a bit of a near-death experience about a month ago that involved being asphyxiated by natural gas leaking in my bedroom. While passed out, I had a series of visions, memories of specific moments in my life that spurred me to wake up and I was able to drag myself outside where I gasped for air for an hour or so and I realized that all of the moments make life worth living.

The next day, I decided that would be good fodder for a memoir.

So I've been organizing my thoughts, trying to decide a good direction to go in (especially regarding the visions sequence -- do I wrote personal essays from each memory or do I try to a Joycean, stream of consciousness style of writing of every memory randomly?) ever since. While writing the prologue tonight (which will actually just be an excerpt from the third part of the book (in which I wake up and drag myself to safety)), I realized that I'm entirely incapable of writing anything meaningful or with any substance simply because of the fact that it has been so long since I last did.

The last time I wrote a personal essay was last summer, when I was considering applying for Roosevelt University's MFA In Nonfiction program. It was called "Brown and Gold Shag Carpet" and it can actually be found on this blog if you scroll back far enough. It was a tremendous essay and, thus far, I've considered it my grand opus. And, like the terrible writer I am, I didn't put my Golden Rule of Writing into practice ("Write everyday regardless of content, style or worth!") and now I am scraping off the layers of dust and rust from my pens and struggling to come up with anything remotely worth reading.

It's a shame how my greatest passion in life has become such a frustrating chore.

At any rate, here's what I have so far:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I shot up, out from under the covers, and took a deep breath, frantically scanning the room for my escape. I lost myself in the darkness and wondered whether I had opened my eyes at all--if I was even awake or still dreaming. My body tingled, too numb to help me tell the difference. The whirring of the fan in the corner and the warmth of my blankets were the only indicators of my location.

I must be awake.

I forced my right leg out of the bed and felt the fibers of the Berber carpet scratching the bottom of my foot. After planting it there firmly, I swung the rest of my body in that direction, planted my left foot next to its counterpart and straightened my back. Under any other circumstance, getting out of bed is never this much of an ordeal; but, in my condition, fighting dizziness and the loss of feeling in all of my extremities, I needed to be absolutely sure of my every move.

I slid myself off the bed slowly, easing all of my weight onto my sea legs, stood up, tall and erect, shuffled my right forward, my left, my right. After a few of these baby steps, I was overcome yet again by a fit of dizziness and collapsed, in a heap, to the floor. I lay there, lifeless, gazing listlessly into the blackness and tried to breathe.

I must be dying. I don't want to die. I don't want to die.

I lay there for a few minutes, a few years, in the fetal position, fighting the urge to fall asleep, fighting the blackness of the basement from enveloping me and swallowing me whole. I rolled over onto my belly and, with every last bitter ounce of energy in me, dragged myself across the floor, with my forearms, to the stairs that led to my redemption. Very slowly, I dragged my lifeless body up the stairs, step by step, never pausing to catch my breath. The fear coursing through my veins, consuming my entire being, produced just enough adrenaline to give me the strength necessary to pull my weight up each stair. The small sliver of light shining through the crack under the door was my goal.

I must go toward the light.

At the top of the stairs, I reached up, fumbled in the dark for the doorknob and, upon finding it, gave it a weak turn and pushed the door open with my forehead, collapsing again onto the hardwood floor in the hallway. Again, I laid still for a few moments and collected my thoughts. To my left I could see the door to the backyard. My blood boiled in my veins and caused me to sweat profusely. I pushed myself up to all fours and crawled like a dog through the kitchen to the back door, pushed it open and was met by a cool breeze that felt even cooler on my hot, wet skin. A few dozen more feet to go and I'd be safe.

I crawled across the deck, past the grill and the patio table and collapsed into the grass; every blade tickled my back as feelings started to reappear and I laid there, lifeless and alone, gasping for air, savoring every molecule inflating my lungs. The breeze blew the clouds in my mind away and I gazed intently into the night sky. The stars were so clear, and so bright.

I must be alive.


Mixtape #'s 8 and 9: Take Off Your Pants and Shake It! and Rock Your Socks Off! (and pants, shirt and, possibly, underwear)

That's right, ladies and gentlemen -- tonight you will be the first to see TWO mixtape track listings for the price of ONE!

These are the two toughest mixes I've ever made as there was no topic to work with -- instead I had the fit the mood of "dancing with your pants off." The toughest thing about it was that I didn't necessarily want to have them in any sort of order; rather, I wanted people to be able shuffle through it and be able to enjoy whatever popped up. Hopefully I achieved that.

Take Off Your Pants and Shake It!

1) Ocean of Lust - DeVotchka
2) I Feel It All - Feist
3) Minha Menina - A Band of Bees
4) We're from Barcelona - I'm from Barcelona
5) Shape of My Heart - Noah and the Whale
6) Is This the Last Time? - Donovan (w/ Variety Lab)
7) For the Price of a Cup of Tea - Belle and Sebastian
8) Toe Jam - David Byrne
9) A-Punk - Vampire Weekend
10) Meet Me In the Garden - Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele
11) Fair - Ben Folds Five
12) The Further I Slide - Badly Drawn Boy
13) Les Yper-Sound - Stereolab
14) Mr. Tough - Yo La Tengo
15) Selfish Jean - Travis
16) I Love You, You Imbecile - Pelle Carlberg
17) For Our Elegant Castle - Of Montreal
18) Sushi - Kyle Andrews
19) Scar That Never Heals - Jeremy Fisher
20) Closer - Jars of Clay
21) Another Day - Jamie Lidell
22) Turn On Me

Rock Your Socks Off! (and pants, shirt and, possibly, underwear)

1) I Like to Rock the Party - Flight of the Conchords
2) North American Scum - LCD Soundsystem
3) Dancing Choose - TV On the Radio
4) Napoleon Says - Phoenix
5) Valerie - The Zutons
6) Ever Present Past - Paul McCartney
7) Does This Mean You're Moving On? - The Airborne Toxic Event
8) The Good Ole Days - The Lodger
9) What Katie Did - The Libertines
10) Mother, We Can't Get Enough - New Radicals
11) I'm Not Crying, You're Not Crying, Are You? - Dear and the Headlights
12) Soma - The Strokes
13) The Angels' Share - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
14) Alive with the Glory of Love - Say Anything
15) When Did Your Heart Go Missing? - Rooney
16) Talk About It - The Metros
17) Good Day - Jukebox the Ghost
18) Chelsea Dagger - The Fratellis
19) Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
20) Alright - Supergrass
21) One Horse Town - The Thrills
22) Lover - Devendra Banhart


My Self Worth

Monday morning, I woke up in a mood.

I felt worthless and defeated and frustrated with life. Megan sent me a text around noon that she was lined up for this amazing job opportunity that would entail her going to France every summer for free. As happy as I was for her (and I genuinely was), I was also a little discouraged that my ship has yet to come in.

Then I felt even more worthless. And the whole reason I was feeling so worthless was because I don't have a well-paying job.

How sad.

I was at my friend, Josh's, house and he was at work, so I didn't really have anything to do. As I sat on the couch, staring out the window in pure dejection, Josh's dog pawed at it and yipped, letting me know he wanted to go outside. So I did.

I sat in the back yard, watching him run around, chasing butterflies and rolling around in the grass. I watched the limbs of trees across the pond dance in the breeze and the clouds above me, scurrying by. I laid in the grass, folded my arms beneath my head, closed my eyes and felt the warmth of the sun on my face. I played tug of war with the dog and let him jump all over me and lick my face and ears and nip at my fingers. I grabbed my guitar and played a couple worship songs and even prayed for a bit.

I spent five hours in the backyard doing, for all intents and purposes, nothing.

And my troubles all seemed to melt away.

And I couldn't help but wonder, that maybe this was what we actually were created to do -- to live in communion with God and to enjoy His creation. That maybe work and jobs and careers shouldn't be my primary concern, that maybe loving and living with God should be.



Mixtape #7 -- Recovery: Songs of Healing

Here is the final track listing for my latest mixtape, Recovery: Songs of Healing. I'd like to dedicate this mix to Megan's father and wish him nothing but the best.


1) Getting Better - The Beatles
2) Recovery - New Buffalo
3) Reason to Believe - Bruce Springsteen
4) Don't Let It Bring You Down - Neil Young
5) With a Little Help from My Friends - Joe Cocker
6) Today Will Be Better, I Swear! - Stars
7) Still All Right - Adam Merrin
8) Living Life - Eels
9) Hold On Hope - Guided By Voices
10) Life Is Long - David Byrne
11) Sun Is Shining - Paul McCartney
12) Gold In Them Hills - Ron Sexsmith
13) Flowers In the Window - Travis
14) Everything's Not Lost - Coldplay
15) I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight - U2
16) Either Way - Wilco
17) And the Healing Has Begun - Van Morrison
18) Today - Smashing Pumpkins


Mixtape #6 -- RAWR: Songs of the Purple Dinosaur

I recently told Megan that I am the best mixtape maker in the history of mixtape makers; John Cusack in High Fidelity doesn't have anything on me! With such a bold claim, she clearly had reservations about believing me whole-heartedly, so I told her to challenge me: any subject or mood at all! I'll make a mixtape for it.

Her most extravagant suggestion was "Purple Dinosaur."

So, without further ado, here is the final track listing for my most recent mixtape, RAWR: Songs of the Purple Dinosaur:

1) I Love You - Barney
2) Purple Anteater - Damien Jurado
3) Start Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello
4) Dinosaur Egg - Scout Niblett
5) Allosaurus Lunch Hour - Prehistoric Stomp
6) The Beast and the Dragon, Adored - Spoon
7) The Whale Song - Modest Mouse
8) Dinosaur Act - Low
9) I Want You to Know - Dinosaur, Jr.
10) Get It On - T. Rex
11) Do the Evolution - Pearl Jam
12) Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
13) Purple Stain - Red Hot Chili Peppers
14) (Nothing But) Flowers - Talking Heads
15) We R the Dinosaur - The Shapeshifters
16) My Beloved Monster - Eels
17) Cold Blooded Old Times - Smog
18) Ice Age - Pete Yorn
19) Purple Rain - Prince


My Near-Death Experience

A few days ago, my niece, Keira, 4, was playing by the fireplace and noticed a golden key sticking out of the wall. I don't know the details, obviously, of exactly what was going through her mind when she did this, but upon seeing it, she proceeded to give it a couple turns, then yanked it out of the wall and took it to another part of the house. So when everyone in the house couldn't hardly wake up Sunday morning, it suddenly became clear why.

My mom was sitting in the easy chair adjacent to the fireplace Sunday morning and was, for the most, incapacitated -- she couldn't hardly move and was having an even more difficult time keeping her eyes open. After she turned the television off so that she could take a nap (after just waking up, mind you), she noticed a hissing noise coming from the fireplace.

The gas was leaking.

Now, I was gone all day Sunday and Monday, so I didn't know about this. So when I came home Monday night and went to bed (my bedroom is in the basement), it didn't take very long for me to fall asleep. But why? I wasn't even tired! I had a lot of energy when I got home!

Last night, I discovered the difference between falling asleep and slowly blacking out. I was laying in bed and my head suddenly got very heavy -- my eyelids too. I couldn't keep them open while watching a movie and I couldn't move my head to its pillow. In fact, I couldn't hardly move my entire body! Every muscle just... gave out. I was laying there, helpless and defenseless. That's around the time that I started having trouble breathing.

I took deep breaths, not because I was relaxing, but because I was gasping for air. I was actually suffocating in my bed -- my near-death bed, if you will. I fought and struggled to keep my eyes open, because I had a feeling that if I closed them, I would never open them again. I wanted to get out of bed and run upstairs, but my muscles wouldn't even allow me to roll over. I was stuck.

Then the breathing stopped.

And my eyes closed.

And everything was black.

And I knew I was awake during all of this, because my heart started racing as I panicked and feverishly struggled to wake myself up.

Everyone has heard it said that, just as you're about to die, a bright, white light appears in front of you, or that all of your life flashes before you. Maybe I wasn't really about to die, but that didn't happen to me last night. Instead, faces and voices flashed in front of me, so rapidly that I had a difficult time recognizing them.

All of my best friends were there -- the Leighs, the Jorays, the Stellers, the Seelingers, the Rileys, the Van Homampours, the Nashes, the Mays. I heard their voices and saw replays of specific moments I spent with them. I saw Tim and Dustin at P.J.'s, drawing up ideas for a comic book on a napkin and I was taking pictures of them doing it; Suzi, laying into the couch with her feet on the coffee table and her cat, Tasuki, curled up on her big, pregnant belly; Katie at the hospital, sleeping in the bed after just giving birth to Claire; the Nashes walking their dog, Bella; Josh and Sam driving my car to Ohio; my Dad playing catch with me in the front yard; Jeff and Meggie, exchanging vows on their wedding day.

And, at the very last, I saw Megan. Everything slowed down for this vision, so I could watch it in real-time. She was standing in front of me, and we both of our hands clasped together between us. We gazed deep into each other's eyes and we were talking, but I couldn't hear the conversation. It just sounded like a murmur in an empty chamber.

And I realized I didn't want to die. I wanted to have that conversation, whatever it was.

Immediately upon thinking this, I woke up and shot straight out of bed, crashing onto the floor. My heart has beating so hard and pumping blood so fast that, if it weren't for my useless muscles, I could've flew, like Superman, up the stairs and outside. Instead, I crawled and dragged myself across the floor, up the stairs, through the kitchen and onto the deck outside. Then I rolled over on my back, just laid there and, like a person who just survived drowning, I breathed deep and savored every ounce of oxygen that filled my lungs. I was in the spot for about half of an hour, just regaining strength and breathing deep.

As it turns out, gas, unlike heat and fire, does not rise. Instead, it settles. So that Sunday afternoon, when my family realized that gas had been leaking for all of Saturday and opened every window and door in the house to aerate the place, they weren't doing a whole lot of good. Sure, the gas that had leaked into the rooms on the main floor was removed from the house, but the gas that had gotten into the vents and made its way down to the basement had not been taken care of. Instead, it filled the basement for three days, just waiting for me to come home, go downstairs and lock the door behind me, trapping me in a gassy grave.

But that didn't happen. God spared me and once again, I cheated Death.

And that's the kind of thing to write a blog about.