Spring, Joyce Park
It happens within a matter of days, a week at most. On Monday it's winter, the same as it's been every day for the past seven consecutive months. But on Thursday it's preteen summer, budding trees, erect tulips, potent yellow dandelions like packets of Indian spice, various ivies and climbers gripping the mortar between bricks. Blooming. And warm, too—18 or 19 degrees in the afternoon, a mix of sun and clouds—too warm for a jacket if you stay out of the wind very long. A discernible humidity in the air similar to a child's close breath. And if you live where I live, this moment in time corresponds with the return of the FREAKS. An explosion of beautiful freaks—where were they all winter? Is there a market shortage of expressive parkas?—The city streets climax in a chorus of bodies, skin, textiles, hair, faces, bicycles, strollers, wagons and scooters and skateboards and longboards and those single-wheeled electric hover-boards which must require unimaginable balance and core strength. A symphony (excuse the phrase), a symphony of necks and calves and wrists and dry elbows and knee-pits and the beginnings of breasts and bulges in the pockets of terrycloth shorts, and sunglasses, and earrings and baseball caps of a diverse vintage, and don’t you just want to (I just want to) watch the whole thing erupt into some desperate two-month orgy before winter remembers to re-return and overstay its welcome once again?
That's what I thought in the park today. I've been going to the park a lot lately. It's called Joyce Park in Montréal, you can Google it if you want. I sit at the trunk of a tree before the central rock outcropping which must have rendered the land unfit for building and bought the park's existence. It's in Outremont, a distinctly wealthy neighbourhood of which I live less than a block outside the municipal border, but nonetheless outside, which makes the experience of visiting like a field-trip for me. Tesla-owning franco families of 5 meet up with other like families and absently allow their children to tyrannize the park in a sort of meandering birthday party. Pairs of anglo Jewish girls gossip over husband material. Teenagers with bluetooth speakers play music that sounds like a tantrum. Black-clad Orthodox families go out for walks on Saturday evening and look like Rembrandt paintings in the lamplight.
I visit Joyce Park when I'm stuck on a song and need to juice the special magic for a third or fifth or seventh verse. So far it's worked out: I wrote eight songs in the last four weeks, an album. I'm going to a studio to record it in ten days. That's what this email is about: I'm recording an album soon, and I wanted to tell you.
It's going to be an alright album. It's just voice and guitar. I was supposed to record a completely different album this month, but getting a band together in the present sociopolitical public-health climate is not much of a possibility. Now I have two buns in the oven, which can be a good thing, but if you don't freeze one of them fast you'll soon have a lot of stale bread on your hands. This is a metaphor for what I'm doing: I'm freezing one loaf and eating the other. The loaves are albums. I have two of them.
I'm going to share some lyrics with you in the next little while, and also poems and other words I've been steadily amassing as I vacuum out the corners of my mind. I've been thinking for a long time about how I can share my work, and after lots of heady musing and scheming, I've decided to just send an email now and again. Like this.