In The Service Of The Story: Poetics, Songwriting & Robert Service

Yeah; I put the obvious joke in the title. It’s out of the way now. Stay with me. We’re going somewhere cool.

I like to think that a lot of people go into the arts not for the paycheque (meager) or the notoriety (fleeting) but for the sakes of the stories. They simply don’t get the satisfaction of telling stories, from start to finish, in any other possible career they may come across. All of our modern modes of art and culture come back, more or less, to that one need: to serve the story, and I’ve found the heavy hitters of each mode or method of creating art—because the tendency can be channeled in many different ways, crossing facts, films, fiction and poetry—tend to all be obsessed with the concept of story.

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Theme and Variation

It begins with a fingerpicked passage. The notes ring like little bells across the vaulted ceiling, stained cedar like the face of the guitar. The song ricochets back along their heads to me, September sunlight through stained glass dappling the congregation a dozen colors of day, a dozen moods.

I love playing churches; Mendelssohn’s chords, F Major 7 Over C, B Augmented falling into B Major reverberating back in pieces, combinations of notes I could never hit with just two hands. Blending, they come back different. Everything comes back different.

Into the first chorus, the song spreads out.