JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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The house of yesterdays.

Just south of the ballpark, San Francisco’s industrial past is still very much present. There are brick warehouses, piers sticking out into shallow waters, train tracks running underfoot and everywhere the detritus of decades of labor. And if you stand in the middle of it all and look north, you can see the city’s skyline looking down on you.

A few days ago, I drove into this place to snap a few photos. I was there in terrible light – noon, gray sky, no shadows – so I viewed the expedition as more recon than mission. On my return home, I uploaded the photos to my computer and viewed them, not expecting to find anything of use (by which I mean appropriate for this blog). But the above photo held my attention and finally I figured out why: to me, this building evokes the recesses of my mind that I need to enter in order to write a decent song.

 I wish I were different. I wish that songwriting for me was more fun and forward looking, but it’s not. Instead of dreaming about my most excellent future and putting that into organized sound, in delve into my past. And not the good times, but the bad. I mine regret, loss, missed opportunities. Worst of all, I put myself back into emotional states I would prefer to leave behind.

When I look at the photo of this building, this is what I see, a house of yesterdays, a place filled with what should be left behind and best forgotten, a place where no one in full charge of his senses would pay a visit to unless he had to. And there’s the rub. I have to. If I were to stay away from this place forever, there would be no more songs. I lived that way once, never writing songs, and I won’t live that way again.

So, in I go.