“I am a rock, I am an i-i-island.” This line from Simon and Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock” keeps spinning in my head as I search for songs about writing. The song is about a guy seeking isolation from others to protect himself:

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island

Poetic songwriter Paul Simon wrote it. He also wrote “A Poem on the Underground Wall,” about a young man waiting in the shadows for the underground to close, a colored crayon in his hand. When the last train has passed, he swiftly writes his four-letter poem on the tunnel wall.

Now from his pocket quick he flashes
The crayon on the wall he slashes
Deep upon the advertising
A single-worded poem comprised of four letters

And his heart is laughing, screaming, pounding
The poem across the tracks rebounding
Shadowed by the exit light
His legs take their ascending flight
To seek the breast of darkness and be suckled by the night, ooh

This is one of the songs I’ve selected for a planned blog post about songs with the theme of writing.

Another obvious choice is “Paperback Writer” by The Beatles. It’s essentially a pitch letter from an aspiring author to an editor. He desperately wants to become a paperback writer.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear.

It’s a “dirty story of a dirty man,” 1000 pages long with a potential to grow:

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few.
I’ll be writing more in a week or two.
I could make it longer if you like the style.
I can change it ’round.

A promise of good sales, and of course a return address:

If you really like it you can have the rights.
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it you can send it here.

A few others:

There She Goes, My Beautiful World by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, about losing one’s muse and hit a writer’s block:

Well, me, I’m lying here, with nothing in my ears
Me, I’m lying here, with nothing in my ears
Me, I’m lying here, for what seems years
I’m just lying on my bed with nothing in my head

Everyday I Write the Book by Elvis Costello:

Everyday I write the book.
Chapter One: We didn’t really get along.
Chapter Two: I think I fell in love with you.
You said you’d stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three
But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four Five and Six.

Hemingway’s Whiskey by Guy Clark, unknown to me until now:

You know it tough out there a good muse is hard to find
Living one word to the next and living one line at a time

I was delighted to discover Soltero and his I’ll Be a Writer:

I’ll be a writer when I finally go deaf
In the manner of whoever they say is the best
Committing to paper the chances I have missed
The girls I have loved
The dogs I have kissed

Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” is apparently about a frustrated writer. “I Be Bound to Write to You” by Muddy Waters is about writing letters. “The Battle of Evermore” by Led Zeppelin makes references to The Lord of the Rings.

And the list goes on…

WordPress Daily Prompt: Song

8 thoughts on “Songs about writing

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