I am no doctor or medical professional. This is just my opinion. And in my opinion, yes, I think changing hormones can affect creativity.
I'll be frank. I used to have those few days a month of feeling doomed, "gloomed" and depressed. The upside to this was, I knew those three day patches of intense, irrational emotion were divine fertile ground for pop songs. (The more irrational, the better.) I could count on them for inspiration. As much as I hated them, I waited for them. How could I not?
When I was a younger girl I wrote from a different place...insecurity, romantic chaos, unrequited love. That place was splendid. While I was young.
The very first songs I ever had recorded were heart wrenching ballads. Producer, Ric Wake would say to me, "I hope you stay miserable forever. You write such great sad songs." At the time I was encouraged by this. Hey...whatever motivates those gems.
Admittedly, I came up with the idea for "Bitch" at the height of PMS. Meredith joined in wholeheartedly with hers. Although everybody has always joked about that song being hormonally skewed, it's really no joke. It totally was.
Now that I'm a woman of a certain age I no longer feel that emotional torment on a regular basis. This should be a good thing right? You would think. But lately, I've had a scary thought: What if this shift in chemistry means I won't be able to tap into that delicious irrational drama? Gasp. That could be death for a songwriter.
As it turns out that hasn't been the case. In fact I have found it to be quite the opposite.
For twenty-five years I was faithful to the three-and-a-half minute pop song. Recently, however, my musings and words started revealing themselves in a different cadence. When I was starting out I was immortal. I wasn't a mother. I hadn't lost friends. Life was still long. But now, those things are no longer true. So, I have a lot more to say. And what I have to say is of greater length. It doesn't all fit so snuggly into a pop song structure: Verse, Pre-Chorus, Hook, Repeat. I needed a new format. So I started blabbing. I mean blogging.
Sure, I could write a pop song about how changing hormones affect creativity. But seriously, who would cut that? I can, however, write about it here.
Of course, there are days when there's nothing I'd love more than to write a radio friendly ditty with some fun loving pals. It's like my candy. So when I feel that way, I do it. And if there's a young person full of drama and confusion who wants to join us--bring her on. Or him. I will empathize. Or recall. I love revisiting my youth. I remember it well and can draw upon it quite keenly when I close my eyes.
For example, even though I personally haven't had a broken heart for years, I wrote this song when someone close to me ended her relationship. I tried to identify with what I imagined she must be feeling; I wrote it vicariously through her. (I'm happy to report she and her honey have since reunited).
Let's face it...We have to grow up. In body and mind. How redundant life would be if we didn't evolve--change the way we feel--how we think--who we are. How scary to look in the mirror ever day, year after year, and see the same exact face.
So, for any of you ladies, songwriters especially, who might have had the same scary thought as I: that shifts in our seismic chemistry, and yes, life experience, are going to wreak havoc on our creativity, I suggest to you the following:
- We don't change our desire to write, but rather what we desire to write about.
- New creative chapters in our lives can offer us the best of both worlds...if we let them.
- It's all very liberating.
As for my two worlds, I'll keep you posted. You know I will. In more ways than one.
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Song demo of "We": written with Henrik Michelsen Edvard Forre