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the wind

I really like this song and I think it works better as a standalone song than as a video, but I'm determined to provide a video for all our new songs in 2014. That's part of the challenge -- in fact, that really is THE challenge. I don't think I realized that when I came up with this harebrained idea.


the wind
janice leber 2014

What am I doing out here in this wind?
I will surely get hit by a tree limb
My mama told me, oh yes I was warned
that I should not go out in the storm

but my heart leads the way every time
and I never know where it will take me
I'm always walking that line
Mama says that one day it will break me ...

What am I doing up here in this tree?
I will surely get stricken by lightning
Someone will certainly soon help me down
but from here I can see the whole town

and it happens every day
just as soon as the sunbeams awake me
climb to the top branch and sway
mama says a swift wind gonna shake me

but it's the only way that I know
so let the wind blow. Let the wind blow.

writing the song
This song is an unexpected outcome of our song for January ("Here It Is").

A friend at work watched the "Here It Is" video and thought about for a while. Then he said to me, "Y'know, Janice, if you walk around with your heart wide open like that, you're gonna get hurt."

That definitely took me by surprise, mostly because for some reason it reminded me of something my dear friend Mama O'Shea told me several times. She said to me, "Y'know, Janice, if you walk around with your heart wide open like that, you're gonna get hurt."

...and I'm supposed to do what about that, exactly?

So I was thinking about all this the next day as I was biking to work in the middle of a horrendous wind storm. The wind was so tornadic that stuff was flying through the air, and I felt like at any moment I might get blown away myself. I yanked out of my reverie long enough to think, "What am I doing out here in this wind? I will surely get hit by a tree limb."

My next thought was: Hey, that sorta rhymes!

Immediately after that, it had a melody. And then the first verse and the ending fell into place as I rode through the wild weather. I came up with the second verse on the way home from work. I recorded the song on the ipad the next day, and made the video that weekend. So this is definitely the most recent song I've written and therefore my favorite of all time.

i didn't write it, i found it
I once read an interview with Lionel Richie where he was asked about the process of songwriting and he said it didn't feel to him like an act of creation, but more like a discovery. "It's like the song is already out there on a radio station that only I can hear."

I understand what he means. I wrote hundreds of songs when I was in high school and when I'd think about them I had absolutely no memory of writing them. I used to think, "I threw the pencil on the paper and the song wrote itself." That was as good an explanation as any. It was already there, but I got to hear it first.

This song was like that. The words crossed my mind, they came with a tune, and before I got to the Willamette River I had the better part of a really nice song. But what has really gotten me kind of excited is that, with this song-a-month project, my brain is always looking for inspiration. With this newfound focus I'm shocked to discover that inspiration is absolutely everywhere I look.

making the video
This is a very, very simple video. That seems appropriate because the song is so childlike. Every time I thought about what kind of cartoon to do, I pictured a bird, so I drew something that almost looks like one.

I started an animation to a whole other song a couple weeks earlier. I already knew from bitter experience that animation is torturous and tedious and mind-bendingly time-consuming, but I had an idea for using simple shapes, and I figured I could knock that video out pretty quickly. Oh dear freakin' god, was I wrong about that. It took me about three days to get the first 40 or 50 seconds animated, and it's not even all that good. Wow, discouraging.

Then, in the middle of all this, "The Wind" came to me. I decided to redefine my idea of a simple video and try something even simpler. I was able to start this video and upload it the same day, because it is very, very simple and I approached it in a very organized manner. That almost never happens!

Now that it's been up a couple of days, I've thought of lots of things I'd like to add or improve on this video, but I still need to do one for March. Maybe I'll be able to finish the animation I started in mid-February. After that, I really hope not to do much animation for the rest of the year. But we'll just see. For this project, my heart leads the way every time, and I never know where it will take me.