The sweet melody of news

Being creative – and somewhat relevant, when you think about it – is difficult on a daily basis. The best ideas and the flashes of brilliance come along only so often. I, for instance, try to write daily on this blog. I find that I’ve left behind the random links and most of the daily blather, and now I just write – about what I’m feeling, about what I’m thinking, about things that interest me. And it’s more difficult. I don’t have easy fall backs. There’s nothing that lends itself to quick, pushed out copy anymore. I’ve set the bar too high for myself.

With that in mind, I find it encouraging reading about Jake Brennen – a Boston native that is writing one hardcore-folk song and video per day, based on the Boston Globe’s headlines.

Granted, he’s got a limitless range of topics – the news is always happening, and his lyrics are practically written for him. But it’s still impressive, a feat requiring spontaneous creativity. He’s doing it for about two weeks – actually, he’ll be finished this Friday. And every day, he’s posting them to the Pop-Ed blog on the Boston Globe website.

It’s a neat idea – an ultra-bare bones attempt to join news and music, to give real time creativity to the overarching themes of our lifetime. Brennen is creating on demand. But he’s also illuminating the news of the day to people who might not even read the news without a “word of mouth buzz marketing” aspect attached. I think it’s a great idea. I wish he’d do it longer.

He doesn’t have free range, apparently. According to Editor and Publisher’s website:

While Beard says the approval process is “pretty rigorous,” he also says that the site is treating Brennan’s music as it would an opinion piece.

“By its name, Pop-Ed, [the feature] allows a certain latitude for the songwriter,” says Beard, who says that he hasn’t made any major changes in Brennan’s music so far. “It’s weird for a print or online editor to say ‘Can you work on that last verse please?’ It’s more about management than about us telling him what to sing about. It’s always going to be Jake’s voice.”

The only real guideline, Beard says, is that that Brennan has been told to focus on stories that are higher up on the homepage, and to take his inspiration largely from local stories.

Still, he’s got an open forum for being creative – to take the words of the day and craft them into something fun and original. And he’s having fun doing it. What a great way to gain exposure, to take the news lightly, to try and challenge yourself to creat something wonderful, and to learn from your mistakes, to throw the bad out and start again.

So when I’m struggling for something to write, maybe I should just look to the headlines.

If only the headlines didn’t drive me crazy. Oh well. There’s always sports.

This was lovingly handwritten on May 14th, 2007