“Moon of Memory”

EbM. Unexpected. Popped up a few nights ago (June 9?) when I decided to noodle aimlessly and without worrying about How I Would Develop It. Happy to see that it came out fairly painlessly and pleasantly.

It’s moderately aimless and unsingable and called out some memories I have of being very small and at the Jersey shore with my family for our annual weeklong plotz in Wildwood, the default vacation for working-class Italians on the East Coast. I loved it when I was little, but sometimes now I think to myself of the work it must have been for my mother to go on vacation at a tiny little apartment rental and still have to cook. We enjoyed it, though.

One of my memories is of all of us sitting on one of the benches facing the ocean on the boardwalk and watching the Moon come up on the water. Of course, in my child’s memory, the Moon takes up about a fifth of the horizon. I know it’s impossible, and it wasn’t an “optical illusion,” but a flat-out faulty memory making a caricature of what I am actually recalling: a very, very clear, blue night with a mostly full but perfectly normal-sized Moon coming up beautifully over the water.

What I must have seen

The Moon is just not a fifth of the width of the horizon, not on this planet anyway. But it made such an impression on me that my memory has literally blown it out of proportion:

What my brain insists on remembering

And when I was messing with the opening of this thing, it just made me think of that Moon in my mind, impossibly huge and coming up over the water, some essence of an imperfect memory.

I’ve got it written down, and it’s short — in my too-spacious musical handwriting, it’s three pages and two lines, but if I were to cram it into Lilypond, it would probably take up less than a page. I’m happy with it. I even had a good idea of where it was heading in the end. It’s the best way to write music as well as text, I’m finding — to write the end, then the beginning, and then figure out how to get from A to B. Getting someplace is easier with a destination in mind.

That makes a big difference, I’m finding. The Fm got to a point where I knew the coda with precision well before finishing it. The thing in Bm was the same; I wrote the reprise of the main theme before I realized I had to go back and write the beginning and middle.

I think it’s easier to write a piece when one has an idea of where it’s going to end up. J. K. Rowling said that she started that seven-novel monster of hers with the last sentence in mind.

With the other thing I’m dealing with in C#m, I have no clue where it’s headed or will wind up, and I think that’s making it much harder. I’m not going to mess with it any further until a conclusion comes to mind, and if one doesn’t, then it gets tucked into my vertical file and left there to be cannibalized for bits.

In the meantime, I’m happy with “Moon of Memory.” Even if it is fluff.

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