The Hatchet

I would be a lot more comfortable in my life if I could just relax and go inside.

you can build your house from sticks and stones

don't be surprised if i don't come home

i'll be in the forest digging a hole

to spend my night with the rats and moles

 

hang a horseshoe up over the door

lay pinewood planks all over the floor

i'll be out in the rushes and reeds

where the banks by the water are oh so steep

 

a pot-bellied stove to keep you warm

a mantlepiece covered in trinkets and charms

i'll be out by the railroad tracks

drinking burning hot coffee 'til my mouth turns black

 

an apple-bough burning on a flagstone hearth

tempts me and threatens to tear me apart

i wanna go inside with you 

but there's something i must do

 

that's bury this hatched that's hacked me in two

 

it's lonely out here where the light won't reach

i pray the woods my soul to keep

if i can't get this hatchet buried deep

i pray the wayward moon my soul to keep

 

build me a house and make it sweet

but i've got a deep dark promise to keep

i'll be out by the wishing well

to see if it works as good as they tell

I always wanted to be a songwriter, for as far back as I can remember. I was overjoyed when I finally figured out how to write a song I wanted to share with anybody, but the process of sharing was, at first, hugely uncomfortable. For one thing, these songs are about my feeeeeeeeeelings, and sometimes my feelings are embarrassing things like "I am sad and crazy" or "I wish I were skinny!" (Also lots of times my feelings are "hooray!" but that's not hard to share with people. At least, not for me.) For another thing, the words and music are just things that I made up out of my brain and it could easily all be garbage! The process and product are both deeply personal and making it public is, in a way, an act of supplication. "Here I am," I say with every song. "Please like me." It would be very cool to be able to say that I don't care if anybody likes the music I write, but it would also be an enormous (and fairly obvious) lie. I care very much. While the act of sharing and singing in public has gotten easier with time, it's still odd to tell a room full of strangers all

about my deepest anxieties. Writing a blog seems different because I'm currently alone in my living room on my laptop and nobody is looking at me. My brain is pretending that this is all secret stuff, but later I will trick myself into hitting "Publish" and then wooosh out it goes onto the Internet - the yawning chasm of trolls. Eep! The point is: sharing your deep-down personals can be difficult and nausea-inducing. 

There's also a material level of discomfort that goes along with being musically inclined. If you need to write, perform and record in order to feel satisfied and self-actualized then you will have costs - instruments, maintenance of those instruments, recording costs, publishing costs that will not necessarily be made back in the sale of your recordings... And time. It will be the thing you want to spend your time on. I have often felt that on a day-to-day, superficial level, my life would be a lot more comfortable if I wasn't a singer-songwriter. If what I wanted to do was work, see my family, take a nice vacation a couple of times a year and save for my retirement, I would have more money! I would be a better cook and probably healthier! I wouldn't feel any frantic sense that time goblins are eating my life up every month (maybe)! This song is about those feelings. It's about how there's this really nice, comfortable house that's full of time to do laundry and get better at yoga but I'm out here in the woods of performing my feelings at people to lukewarm reception and it's going to stay that way because how can I do anything else?

 

 

© 2016 by Zoë Robertson. Photography by Robert Zbikowski and Vincent Fugere. Proudly created with Wix.com

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