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SONG STORIES: “A Father’s Love”, Part Two

Thursday, September 30th, 2010


Now back to our story. To get the ball rolling for the script, I (Christopher) wrote scenes and created mock lyrical treatments which I sent to Brian for review and commentary. Early on, our communication was mostly about noting that we were on the right track with the story, whether the songs were falling in the right places in the plot, and which dialogue exchanges and character details we especially liked. It was quite some time before Brian set out to write any songs because we didn’t want a bunch of brilliant songs which didn’t forward the action of the story we set out to tell.

So here is a glimpse of our process – uncensored!

Here’s the first draft of the lyrical treatment I sent to Brian (without music). What is this impulse in me that wants to say it was my very, very first draft, and I was so young and inexperienced back then… and I had a head cold that day… and I’m not usually so lame? (All lies and really, it’s not that bad.)

My loving Pierson…
Here is sweet fruit of our love.
I feared to tell you.
Forgive my fear.
Death leaves nothing to be feared.
Will you love her?
And through loving her, remember me?
Tell her of my love for her,
A tiny one just like us in every way –
Only loved. Truly loved.
I pray she will not have to wait for love,
As I did,
Until it was too late.
Forfeit is my life.
If I could buy it back,
I would spend it all again on her.
And on you, my love.
I am,
Your Departed Mara.

Brian here. It struck me again that Christopher’s first draft was great – it really was! But my songwriting instincts wanted something simple – almost childish in its form so that the whole thing could be summed up in a simple request. I keyed off of several of his draft 1 phrases and shaped it as simply as I could. My instinct was that a time would come for more complexity but to restrain that here in the opening. I’ve always been the kind of person that loves things that start gently and simply and build from there.

Here’s what I sent back (set to the exact melody which exists to this day):

By the time this letter reaches you
My life may be forfeit
But I pray that you will find a way
To open up your heart

I feared to tell you what was growing deep inside of me
Our love conceived a life, a life that needs a love
Greater than my own, this child needs a home
She needs more than I could ever give
This child needs a father’s love.

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