Scattered Pieces

7th February 2015

Scattered Pieces


“Little boy, little girl, little waterfall world...”

I think we all reach a point in life, where no matter how our story looks, we have to get honest about it. No matter what our success are we realize that we have had failures. We begin to view our past in a different, more honest way. I was watching a very special boy to me named Blake hobble around my living room one day, and it for some reason made me think of this little waterfall in the little valley below my house. My sister and I played there almost everyday. We built dams in the stream one time and got in trouble. As Blake, who was three years old, was bopping around the room amongst his toys, I was sitting on the couch with a guitar in my lap, and I began to play what became the intro to the song. He bounced along in perfect rhythm as I played it for 15 minutes. The entirety of the music was formed in that time, trying to improvise what I thought would cool soundtrack part to the movie scene I imagined we were in.
A few days later we found ourselves in the little valley below my parents house, playing in the waterfall. I hadn't been to that spot in 20 years, I and was at once astounded by how small the place was. The waterfall itself was exactly the same height as a small 3 year old. I believe we all have that experience too: our perspectives change and what was once gigantic now seams minute. Time passes us by before we really even understand that it exists, it's a trick of life. All present moments fade.
Not long after my trip to the waterfall, I wrote the words. It's one of my favorite songs, and it never feels right unless we play at it “bouncing toddler” tempo, and I will always treasure the moment that bore it.
When I reached the beginning of my third decade, I was in a place where I had to face the fact that everything I had done, I had done wrong. I had to come to grips with this, and that took a long time. I kept a journal pretty much every day for one year, and I was isolated from people 80% of the time for seven months of it. Eventually, over the course of a few years, and 3 moves, those journals disappeared. They were lost for a couple years, but about 6 months ago, I found them. It was like opening a time capsule. I read through a whole book of writing that I hadn't seen in 6 years, and was written at a time of my life that I have worked hard to forget about. In the journal, I found poems, short stories of my events in my childhood, a really funny description of what the day I was born must have been like (that's a really funny story), and songs. Lot's of song ideas. I knew that I wrote a lot while I was there, but I always assumed that nothing in it would be good, and that I didn't really want to revisit that place in my life. I found, that I wrote on March 13th, 2007, my 30th birthday, a song called “Scatter the Pieces.” It was literally almost word for word the exact same song.

“It seems to me, that all the things I've seen repeat...”

If your familiar with the writings of Kurt Vonnegut, you may notice that the last line of the last verse is a qoute of his. “Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt” is an epitaph on a headstone at the end of Slaughterhouse-Five. I have to confess that I did not know that, even though I've read the book. I could not, for the life of me, find a final line for the song. But, right around the same time I was working on it, a 100 year old bridge was dynamited and dropped into the river not far from my house. One really rainy, dreary November morning, I was driving by where the bridge had been and I got stuck at a red light. From where I was sitting, I had a clear view of The Mon Valley, facing south down the river for about 3 miles. It's a sad thing that happened here when all the industry fled the area during my childhood. The area was left in ruins and never recovered. On a wall next to the bridge had stood, someone had painted in bright orange reflective paint, “Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” It was as if it were a caption on a photo of the bleak scene I was looking at. I sang it and it fit into the rhythm of the song immediately. I am thankful to ever it was that painted that there for many reasons. It was a powerful image.