Which came first…

I was asked this week which comes first, the poetry or the music

[I’m going to assume it’s not a question of prioritization for the time being]

And I really don’t have an answer, well not any that is any easier to understand than the chicken and the egg at least.

Sometimes a line of poetry will spur a melody, or a chord progression on the guitar – and a song will emerge.

Sometimes a chord progression or melody will in turn spur a line of poetry – or at least a lyrical frame – and a song will emerge.

Sometimes a complete poem will sit for weeks, months, years and suddenly a piece of music will make sense when bedded beneath the words.

One marked shift over time – I will rarely if ever write a lyric for a song

[verses, choruses, bridge, etc.]

without a guitar in hand. In my immature, naive song-writing life, that was how I mostly did it – writing on scraps of paper and in lyric books.

The songs that emerged were ponderous and didn’t grab people.

So I stopped doing that – long pieces will typically stay as poems, or be reshaped to song.

Reading over this as I write, I realize that I interchange poetry and lyrics all the time – I know that probably upsets some purists, but these strands of the muse run so close


for me, that it’s easier not to try to separate them.

So, which comes first? It depends on where the muse leads me in the moment.

Not much of an answer, I know, but an answer all the same!


A little experiment: Sharing the love at Patreon

So, here’s an interesting thing – I have a favour to ask. Would you be willing to be part of an experiment with me?

Back in September, I shared how I was moving most, if not all, my spontaneous creative work to Patreon. It’s why I’ve been so quiet here since.

A small number of people followed me over there, and I’ve been posting fairly regularly – new songs, impromptu jams, an unfinished novel, prompted poetry – you know, that sort of thing…

I’d like to get more people there but I came across something really, really ANNOYING about Patreon’s functionality.

Put simply, it’s REALLY difficult to find artists on Patreon, unless they’re already successful.

The flip-side of this is that it’s nearly impossible for an artist to find patrons on Patreon! Basically, you have to build audience elsewhere, and get them to Patreon to pay you.

[Patreon then reaps the reward of your hard work through their fee]

Sigh… Such is the way of things in the arts on the internet.

Still, it got me thinking – and the idea for my little experiment began to form.

Here it is in a nutshell:

For every 5 patrons I have at Patreon, I will ask the community to tell me 3 undiscovered artists who I can, in turn, sponsor on Patreon.

Basically, each one of my patrons will actually be sponsoring 1.6 artists just by sponsoring me at Patreon

[8 artists sponsored by 5 Patrons]

Though, of course, in reality it’s me sponsoring the extra 3.

[and yes, passing on 60% of my sponsorship]

My self-interest is simply to be able to afford to keep making music, writing books, and offering them to the world – but to be able to do that while also helping others do the same is just amazing.

So, here’s my question: Are you willing to be part of my experiment?

If so, all you need to do is sponsor me at Patreon – here are the per-month levels:

  • $1 – No reward – just for those who want to help me do what I do
  • $1 – Music Fan – you receive a physical and digital copy of any new CD I release
  • $2 – Avid Reader – you will receive a hard- or e-copy of any new novel I release
  • $10 – SUPERFAN! – you will receive physical and digital copies of any new CD or Novel I release, and private invitation to special events online and face-to-face

And, of course, you can choose to pay more than those subscription levels, but the amounts above are the minimum to get going.

So what say you? Are you willing to help me help you help my sisters and brothers in art?

Sponsor me at Patreon

Some things for you to ignore

Because right now, in all honesty, I’m tired of self-promotion and trying to persuade you to read/listen/enjoy anything I’ve put into the world.

So go ahead, please ignore…

Live Music
iOS Apps

Readings that count – The Journey by Mary Oliver

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations-
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver (b. 1935)

Back to RUFUS

Today, for the first time in almost a year, I added new words to RUFUS, one of my novels-in-progress.

I’m going to let that sink in for a moment

[for myself, more than for you, sorry]

The longest I shelved a novel – or at least one that got finished – was the 5 years when Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies? sat at 60 pages. I’ve written about the whys and wherefores of that block several times before, so I won’t cover the ground again. Besides, it’s hardly been an idle time since I last wrote, though the pendulum has swung far towards my musical self, with the release of Grope, Writer’s Flow and Turquoise Cyan Sapphire.

For now, all that’s important is that I added words to RUFUS today – and intend to add more tomorrow

[and yes, I was writing to Writer’s Flow – Music For Writing – you should really try it yourself]

All that’s important is that I recognize the act in its moment: I am a writer; I am writing.

In Swan Song, Robert R McCammon has a recurring line for one of his lead characters, Sister Creep:

One step and then the next, gets you where you’re going.

[incidentally, I’m using that as a pace chant when out running – it works really well!]

Over the years, I’ve gained many insights about writing and writers block. They all help me know. And the simplest is:

One word and then the next, gets the book written.

I am a writer; I am writing.


Vince Sig 131x89

Noisy boy ignored

The silent boy
found his choice
found his voice
found his noise

The silent boy
now noisy boy
made his choice
made his noise

The noisy boy
met with noise
“QUIET!” they yelled
silence your noise

The noisy boy
made his choice
opened his voice
made more noise

The noisy boy
found his voice
met with silence
stone-cold silence

So ignored
the noisy boy
made his choice
whispered his noise

The noisy boy
found his noise
met with silence
lonely silence

The noisy boy
made his choice
let their silence
take his voice

The noisy boy
now silent boy
was never heard

Turquoise Cyan Sapphire Working Mixes

Since the release of Grope, I’ve been working pretty solidly on the follow-up, Turquoise Cyan Sapphire

[although I did take a little detour into Writers Flow – Music For Writing along the way]

I’m really pleased with how the 10 tracks are shaping up and, barring last minute production rethinks

[I don’t think there’ll be any, but you never know]

I’m pleased to be moving into final mixing.

My Facebook followers have been getting links to rough mixes for the last few weeks and I decided to make that more formal by officially compiling a playlist where I’ll keep the latest mix ahead of closing the project and sending it off to mastering:

It’s the first time I’ve been so transparent about the mixing phase, and I’ve got to say it’s a bittersweet decision – driven by a brutal look in the mirror of commercial realities for independent musicians.

I’ll be writing more about where I’m at, but here’s the skinny: people don’t buy music, so why pretend that’s still the model to follow when it comes to my own records? I wish it were otherwise, but it isn’t – so I’d rather not lie to myself

[delusion has never been a comfortable cloak for me to wear]

So, listen away – there’s a tip-jar up there at the top of the page if you want to say thank you – and links to the records if you still want to do the decent thing and buy a copy

[as I do, because #IBuyMusic]

I will, of course, be writing more about Turquoise Cyan Sapphire as I approach release date, and hope you’ll stick with me through the process.


Vince Sig 131x89