Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Morning Glory

There's a good reason why I always list Syd Barrett as one of the biggest influences on my writing. I listened to his music extensively in my formative writing years. His songs and song lyrics tapped into the same stream of imagination from which the stories in my mind seemed to spring from. Songs like "Baby Lemonade", "Bike," "Silas Lang", "Effervescing Elephant" among others, all captured this idea of a children's story gone weird and somehow wrong, which were very much the kind of thing that I started out writing. But he also had an outstanding inventiveness when it came to language and playful use of words.

Here is one verse of his that I find perfect in every way:

"Rats, rats, lay down flat
We don't need you, we act like that,
And if you think you're un-loved,
Then we know about that..."
-Syd Barrett

On the surface, it seems like a great bit of Edward Lear nonsense verse or something Lewis Carroll's door mouse might spew between verses of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat". But when you dig into it, it's a pretty profound statement condemning people in general as being akin to rats. The fact that he's able to do it in a quasi-children's verse is what always strikes me.

The idea of using children's book aesthetics for other ends is something that always fascinates me. The art of Mark Ryden does this expertly with painting. In a my novels, I often infuse childlike imagery into the most emotionally tough sequences in the story...I find it effective in being both comforting and frightening at the same time. This is a remnant of Syd's impact on my artistic development.

1 comment:

  1. I still find myself singing Arnold Layne to myself.