Storyteller Sunday #5: Feral

Storyteller Sunday is a sporadic post that details the creation of specific lyrics I’ve written over the years.

 

Using raw emotion to inspire lyrics, sometimes it takes awhile to sculpt them into a final form.

 

Such is the case with Feral, one of 12 pieces included on Diurnal. It all started when I hit rock bottom emotionally around Christmas last year. Before the pandemic, I’d hosted an annual Christmas/birthday party until 2020 broke the streak (it would’ve been the 20th year in a row no less!)

 

Anyway, everything looked to be going according to plan for throwing the bash in 2021. At the last second however, my nephew tested positive for Covid-19. While we hadn’t come in contact with him directly, he had visited my mom and so had we a few days later. Having my wife’s family getting together on Christmas day (including her brother, his wife and their one-year-old coming from Toronto,) we decided to air on the side of caution and cancelled my party about a day before. I was super bummed about it, especially when my friends all got together at someone else’s house instead. I didn’t expect them to cancel everything just because of us but it really hurt since the annual party had been my thing for so long.

 

Following this, I tried convincing my mom to get tested for Covid-19. When she refused, I got upset with her and we went radio silent with one another afterwards. To cap it all off, after my wife’s dad heard about my nephew testing positive and our indirect contact, he wouldn’t let us go over for Christmas anyway. So all of the sacrifices we’d made served no real purpose other than isolating us from everyone. It really made me feel like we were the only ones who took the situation seriously and got punished for it.

 

Needless to say, that really fucking sucked. (Pardon my french.)

 

For the days that followed, I was emotionally spent. Christmas was my dad’s favourite holiday when he was with us so last year’s disaster hit me really hard. After reflecting on things and shedding some tears alone, I sorted things out with my mom at least and we went over there for Christmas dinner. Even so,, the scars are still a bit fresh: I’m not really sure what my plans are this year. I just got burnt so bad in 2021 that I’m reflexively hesitant to put myself in a situation where it could happen again.

 

It all led me to write a rough version of Feral in the middle of my holiday depression. Inspired by the verse melody of Winter Song (opens in new tab) by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles, I poured my feelings into words and posted them here. As you can read for yourself, the anger, depression and bitterness really come through in the chorus specifically.

 

I further developed this rough draft in the months that followed. Independent of that version, I came up with the new bridge before realizing it might work for Feral specifically. Going back and forth between both sections, the latter eventually won out.

From there, different experiences in early 2022 provided extra fodder to flesh things out a bit more. This is what allowed me to expand my final bridge ideas. Still, the process happened through slow and minor evolution along the way.

 

Versions that are dated instead of numbered started from when I thought I’d finished the lyrics. My friend Carol then came in with a fresh pair of eyes (sometimes a blind person needs those after all) and any additional changes were made as a result of her feedback.

 

Below, I’ve included every iteration of Feral so you can see how the final product came from chipping away at it.

 

Lyrics Contents

 

01. Feral (rough sketch)

02. Feral (v. 1)

03. Feral (v. 2 – unfinished)

04. Feral (v. 3)

05. Feral (02-24-22)

06. Feral (03-08-22)

07. Feral (03-10-22)

08. Feral (03-15-22)

09. Feral (03-19-22 – final version)

 

Feral (rough sketch)

 

Everyone turns feral in time

I’m fraying at the edges

Nothing’s ever simple in our minds

Apart from consequences

 

Trying to remember a place

But now I feel so anxious

Struggling with the fact we can’t relate

Our arguments seem endless

 

We’re horrible people, we live horrible lives

We say horrible things and then we all have to die

 

Everyone I know goes away

We’re always second guessing

Running to the places we can’t stay

As if we’ll find redemption

 

Carving out our thoughts to make sense

Outside the wind keeps blowing

No one else around would keep it in

Forgotten lines aren’t holding

 

We’re horrible people, we live horrible lives

We say horrible things and then we all have to die

 

But no one’s asking why

No one’s asking why

 

We keep losing ourselves until we all lose our way

Searching hard for the truth but we all make mistakes

 

We keep losing ourselves until we can’t get away

Searching hard for the truth when we’ll never escape

 

We keep losing ourselves but we can’t find a way

Searching hard for the truth, still there’s nothing to say

 

We keep losing ourselves but we all make mistakes

Searching hard for the truth when it all fades away

 

We’re horrible people, we live horrible lives

We say horrible things until we all have to die

 

Back to lyrics content

 

Feral (v. 1)

 

Everyone turns feral in time

I’m fraying at the edges

Nothing’s ever simple in our minds

Apart from consequences

 

Trying to remember a place

But now I feel so anxious

Struggling with the fact we can’t relate

Our arguments seem endless

 

We’re horrible people, we live horrible lives

We say horrible things and then we all have to die

 

Everyone I know goes away

We’re always second guessing

Running to the places we can’t stay

As if we’ll find redemption

 

Carving out our thoughts to make sense

Outside the wind keeps blowing

No one else around would keep it in

Forgotten lines aren’t holding

 

We’re horrible people, we live horrible lives

We say horrible things and then we all have to die

 

But no one’s asking why

No one’s asking why

 

We keep losing ourselves until we all lose our way

Searching hard for the truth but we all make mistakes

 

We keep losing ourselves until we can’t get away

Searching hard for the truth when we’ll never escape

 

We keep losing ourselves but we can’t find a way

Searching hard for the truth, still there’s nothing to say

 

We keep losing ourselves but we all make mistakes

Searching hard for the truth when it all fades away

 

We’re horrible people, we live horrible lives

We say horrible things until we all have to die

 

Back to lyrics content

 

Feral (v. 2 – unfinished)

 

Everyone turns feral in time

I’m fraying at the edges

Nothing’s ever simple in our minds

Apart from consequences

 

Trying to remember a place

But now I feel so anxious

Struggling with the fact we can’t relate

Our arguments seem endless

 

We’re all broken people in these miserable times

Trying hard to escape when we still have to die

 

Everyone I know goes away

There’s so much second guessing

Running to the places we can’t stay

As if we’ll find redemption

 

Carving out our thoughts to make sense

Outside the wind keeps blowing

No one else around would keep it in

Forgotten lines aren’t holding

 

We’re all broken people in these miserable times

Trying hard to escape when we still have to die

 

But no one’s asking why

No one’s asking why

 

Black, white, shades of grey

With folded hands we start to pray

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Nothing’s learnt if we all stay

 

Black, white, shades of grey

???

 

Black, white, shades of grey

???

 

We’re all broken people in these miserable times

Trying hard to escape when we still have to die

 

Back to lyrics content

 

Feral (v. 3)

 

Everyone turns feral in time

I’m fraying at the edges

Nothing’s ever simple in our minds

Apart from consequences

 

Trying to remember a place

But now I feel so anxious

Struggling with the fact we can’t relate

Our arguments seem endless

 

We’re all broken people in these miserable times

Trying hard to get out when we still have to die

 

Everyone I know goes away

Obsessed with second guessing

Running to the places we can’t stay

As if we’ll find redemption

 

Carving out our thoughts to make sense

Outside the wind keeps blowing

No one else around would keep it in

Forgotten lines aren’t holding

 

We’re all broken people in these miserable times

Trying hard to get out when we still have to die

 

But no one’s asking why

No one’s asking why

 

We keep losing ourselves until we all lose our way

Searching hard for the truth but we all make mistakes

 

We keep losing ourselves until we can’t get away

Searching hard for the truth when we’ll never escape

 

We keep losing ourselves but we can’t find a way

Searching hard for the truth until there’s nothing to say

 

We keep losing ourselves but we all make mistakes

Searching hard for the truth when every word fades away

 

We’re all broken people in these miserable times

Trying hard to get out when we still have to die

 

Back to lyrics content

 

Feral (02-24-22)

 

Everyone turns feral in time

I’m fraying at the edges

Nothing’s ever simple in our minds

Apart from consequences

 

Desperate to remember your face

But now I feel so anxious

Struggling with the fact we can’t relate

Our arguments seem endless

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

Trying hard to remain as our empathy dies

 

Everyone I know goes away

Obsessed with second guessing

Running to the places we can’t stay

As if we’ll find redemption

 

Carving out our thoughts to make sense

Outside the wind is blowing

No one else around would let it in

Forgotten lines keep folding

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

Trying hard to remain as our empathy dies

 

But no one questions why

No one questions why

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Moonlight falls to chase the day

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Righteous thoughts can turn profane

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Memories form and then decay

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Silent fears can’t stay contained

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

Trying hard to remain as our empathy dies

 

Back to lyrics content

 

Feral (03-08-22)

 

Everyone turns feral in time

I’m fraying at the edges

Nothing’s ever simple in our minds

Apart from consequences

 

Desperate to remember your face

But now I feel so anxious

Struggling with the fact we can’t relate

Our arguments seem endless

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

Clawing up from the dirt as our empathy dies

 

Everyone I know goes away

Obsessed with second guessing

Running to the places we can’t stay

As if we’ll find redemption

 

Carving out our thoughts to make sense

Outside the wind is blowing

No one else around would let it in

Forgotten lines keep folding

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

Left to choke in the dirt as our empathy dies

 

But no one questions why

No one questions why

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Moonlight falls to chase the day

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Righteous thoughts turn so profane

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Memories form and then decay

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Silent fears can’t stay contained

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

Back to lyrics content

 

Feral (03-10-22)

 

Everyone turns feral in time

I’m fraying at the edges

Nothing’s ever simple in our minds

Apart from consequences

 

Desperate to remember your face

But now I’m getting anxious

Struggling with the fact we can’t relate

Our arguments seem endless

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

Everyone I know goes away

Obsessed with second guessing

Running to the places we can’t stay

As if we’ll find redemption

 

Carving out our thoughts to make sense

Outside the wind is blowing

No one else around would let it in

Forgotten lines keep folding

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

But no one questions why

No one questions why

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Moonlight falls to chase the day

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Righteous thoughts come out profane

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Memories form and then decay

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Silent fears can’t stay contained

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

Back to lyrics content

 

Feral (03-15-22)

 

Everyone turns feral in time

I’m fraying at the edges

Nothing’s ever simple in our minds

Apart from consequences

 

Desperate to remember your face

But now I’m getting anxious

Struggling with the fact we can’t relate

Our arguments seem endless

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

Everyone I know goes away

Obsessed with second guessing

Running to the places we can’t stay

As if we’ll find redemption

 

Carving out our thoughts to make sense

Outside the wind is blowing

No one else around would let it in

Forgotten lines keep folding

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

But no one questions why

No one questions why

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Moonlight falls to chase the day

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Righteous thoughts become profane

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Memories form and then decay

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Silent fears can’t stay contained

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

Back to lyrics content

 

Feral (03-19-22 – final version)

 

Everyone turns feral in time

I’m fraying at the edges

Nothing’s ever simple in our minds

Apart from consequences

 

Desperate to remember your face

But now I feel so anxious

Struggling with the fact we can’t relate

Our arguments seem endless

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

Everyone I know goes away

Obsessed with second guessing

Running to the places we can’t stay

As if we’ll find redemption

 

Carving out our thoughts to make sense

Outside the wind is blowing

No one else around would let it in

Forgotten lines keep folding

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

But no one questions why

No one questions why

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Moonlight falls to chase the day

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Righteous thoughts become profane

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Memories form and then decay

 

Black, white, shades of grey

Silent fears can’t stay contained

 

We’re broken down people in these miserable times

So we claw at the dirt as our empathy dies

 

Back to lyrics content

 

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