Bloomsbury Festival Day 5 
Writer In Residence: Lauren McMenemy

So you wanna know me now, how I’ve been? 

It’s a community-driven scene.
A community of creativity quietly powers the world.

We’re making a sound together, making it work with what we’ve got.
Limitations don’t mean you can’t produce something of value.
Breathe and let go. Let it all go.

We all respond to stimuli.

We’re a product of the names we’re given, our upbringing. The records of our youth.
Graft to get better, get to the level we’re expected to be at.
But remember that rest is protest: get away from it, don’t force it. 

Still, you need to let this thing you created go. Let it go.
Breathe and let go.

When it’s “pure”, you do it because you want to – not because you’ve been asked to. That’s the dream.
Sing me to my dreams.

Save your breath for someone else and credit me with something more. 

But how do you let go? Breathe and let go. Create and let go. Collaborate and let go.
Drift around, daydream, don’t do anything.
Say yes. Be open to the opportunities.
Stop waiting for a visionary.

It’s in the way you use your voice. The way you use the music to inform the story.
Aim for the do-re-mi moment; it don’t mean a thing without the words. If it ain’t got that swing.
The music of inspiration. Of perspiration.
The construction of creation. Of reality.

Write to piss people off.

You could deliberately engineer a hit, but does it have soul?
It’s a wanky cliche but it’s a real joy to play.
And then the happy moment gets out of control. You’re known for one thing. 

But you can still make an impact. Breathe. Let go.

It’s catharsis; making beauty from something so intrinsically sad. The melancholy of the baroque rounds. Of the blackbird. Let it go.

And I would that wings of blackbirds would sing me to my dreams.

Stop me in my tracks; I can’t drive and listen to this properly. I need to take it all in. I need to breathe.
Bring a hush to the room. Bring emotion.
Sniffles in the silence as the final notes echo.

Make peace with yourself as an artist: what combination of hunger and talent do you have? Have you been readying yourself your entire life for this, or are you just not ready at all? What does that say about your passion? Is it enough? 

It’s a treadmill, an endless parade of constantly trying. It doesn’t stop.
The point you start writing lyrics about touring is the point you need a break. You need to get away so when you commune again you’re excited.

After all, it’s a community-driven scene. So commune to create.

Don’t want to be on my own again tonight. Don’t want to put out the light.

The bass player holds it all together; they’re reliable because they know they’re not getting the attention. It’s where they put the chicks.

The return of face to face contact is fulfilling; online living is draining.

The industry is hammering artists; the expectations of commerciality are frightening.
It’s too hard to keep up.

The “Afterlife” of success is recognition vs oblivion. 

Remember where you came from, who inspired you, how you got here.
Life takes you away sometimes; the connection of community keeps you going. 

Yes, life is a series of communities. Everything leads somewhere. 

Yes, I do feel better. 

With thanks and credit to singer/songwriters Miki Berenyi (formerly of Lush) and David McAlmont; these words were mostly taken from and inspired by their reflections during Stories of Song at Conway Hall (and some of their own songs, too!).


Back to 26 Writers In Residence 2022

DAY 5 (Tues 18 Oct): Lauren McMenemy