At the end of 2003, I had the idea of making a music cd devoted entirely to the subject of sleep. There were many excellent relaxing cds available, but I had something slightly different in mind. I wanted the lyrics of each song to be about sleep or about situations that make people drowsy. I began imagining relaxing scenes and then putting these soothing images into lyrics.
The image of a cozy cabin in a forest, a featherbed, and crackling fire became the song Cabin in the Pines. Since I have always found riding in a car to be soothing, I wrote In a Car With a Safe Driver, and tried to capture that feeling of being lulled to sleep by the steady motion and monotonous sound of the engine humming. Thinking about the transition time between evening and night, I wrote Slowing Down.
I thought about sleep and what it represents. To many people, it is an escape of sorts, a time out from the pressures of daily life. This inspired the song Great Escape. When considering some of the reasons for insomnia, worry figured high on the list. Think About It Tomorrow is a song that acknowledges that some concerns are legitimate and even serious, yet encourages the listener to procrastinate the anxiety, to postpone the worry, until after a good night’s rest clears the mind. And thus it went.
Some ideas I considered but ultimately rejected. For instance, I wanted to do a song about falling asleep in class with a boring lecture droning in the background. I even went so far as to write the lecture, but couldn’t find a male volunteer to read it for me. So, that idea was discarded. I also thought about a song about pure exhaustion, but decided that was too negative for what I had in mind.
Finally, I had my songs written. I was happy with the varied styles, yet strove to keep them all slow and soothing. I wanted to gradually move from one style to the next, with each song becoming progressively more relaxing. By the time the listener reaches the end of the cd with the song, Dreamland, hopefully sleep is near or has already begun.
I found that I had to resist the urge to add embellishments, chord changes, or instrumental breaks that might spice up the songs, always reminding myself the songs should move along slowly and be free of attention-grabbing flourishes that might interfere with relaxation. When I told my band I was aiming for very uneventful songs, they had an understandable lack of interest in the project. Therefore, this was my own independent venture. I did, however, want to choose a name for my project that was close to the name of my band at the time, which was Idle Threats. So I chose Idle Time for my sleep cd.
While the band did not take part in making the Sleep cd, the guitar player (my husband) did contribute his skills to a few of the cuts.
Having no studio in which to record my cd, I opted for studio software on my computer. Using N-Track and Anvil programs, I was able to mix electronic melodies with acoustic instrumentation and vocals. I did as much of it as I could in my spare time, but took a day off work to record the vocals, hoping it would be a quiet day in the neighborhood. It wasn’t. A loud motorcycle went up and down my street that day, wrecking the silence I needed. Therefore, I had to reschedule my vocals and ended up losing sleep over it since the only quiet times seemed to be late at night. The irony did not escape me that the actual recording of my relaxing cd was anything but relaxing for me. Actually, there was a double irony. It turns out I lost sleep while making my Sleep cd!
Finally, though, the Idle Time Sleep cd was finished in early 2004. I listed the item on cdbaby.com and finally relaxed. It was satisfying to take an idea from inception to completion. I hope the Sleep cd has helped bring relaxation and sleep to all who have purchased it. Sleep is a respite from daily cares, refreshes our minds and bodies, and can bring comfort to troubled souls.
I read a book one time that promoted the idea of learning to get by on six hours of sleep per night, or less. While the author made some salient points, I disagree with the premise. I don’t believe we should shortchange our minds and bodies of the recuperative powers of sleep. Scrimping on sleep is a bad idea, in my opinion, for it is the tonic that restores and the balm that soothes.
I would encourage anyone who has an idea for a project to go ahead with it. Follow through on your inspiration and keep going forward until you finish. I think you will be happy you did. Now that I have more or less retired from music, I am really glad I produced a recording with my songs on it.
I would also encourage everyone to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible. You will feel so much better the next day! Sweet dreams. . .