One way to start a song is to read a paragraph from any book. Catch yourself off guard by trying to improvise right away based on the words you’ve just read. Think of the paragraph as a ball of yarn. Pull yarn from it. Play with it, roll it around, tug at the tangly parts, roll it back up and then throw it around a tree. Hang some sneakers on it. Just PLAY. In some cases, these playful balls of yarn become songs.
In the case of “You Don’t Know” I read a randomly selected paragraph from a randomly selected book. There was something about a “bedside deposition” and I went with it, mostly because the syllables, vowels and rhythm of the words felt good to sing. I keep singing it and wrote a whole song based on the rhythm of the syllables. Eventually, thanks to my producer Jonny Flaugher, the words “bedside deposition” were removed from the song, but they were a useful tool along the way.
For those still reading, it might be interesting to note that after the song went from PAGE to STAGE, it then went back to PAGE. In other words, the song was initially inspired by a page in a book. Then it became a song I performed on stage. Then the stage performance became the source of a play I wrote called “The Ballad of Madelyne & Therese.” Just another example of: this leads to that. Keep going, my friends!