Tag Archives: Depression

Irony, Heartbreak, Depression

I’ve become obsessed with a 1966 hit by The Statler Brothers: “Flowers on the Wall.” A bluegrassy-sounding song, it won a Grammy that year, and yet it’s weird and chockful of irony. I can’t stop listening to it. See if you think it’s one of the most ironic and sad songs you’ve ever heard:

(Take a look at those Mad Men outfits!)

Anyway, do you know the song or did you just listen? Here are the lyrics:

I keep hearin’ you’re concerned about my happiness
But all that thought you’re givin’ me is conscience I guess
If I were walkin’ in your shoes, I wouldn’t worry none
While you and your friends are worried about me, I’m havin’ lots of fun

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire ’til dawn with a deck of 51
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me, I’ve nothin’ to do

Last night I dressed in tails, pretended I was on the town
As long as I can dream it’s hard to slow this swinger down
So please don’t give a thought to me, I’m really doin’ fine
You can always find me here, I’m havin’ quite a time

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire ’til dawn with a deck of 51
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me, I’ve nothin’ to do

It’s good to see you, I must go, I know I look a fright
Anyway my eyes are not accustomed to this light
And my shoes are not accustomed to this hard concrete
So I must go back to my room and make my day complete

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire ’til dawn with a deck of 51
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me, I’ve nothin’ to do

Don’t tell me, I’ve nothin’ to do

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Lewis Dewitt

Flowers On the Wall lyrics © Unichappell Music Inc.

The song was written by Statler Brothers tenor Lew DeWitt. The lyrics are astonishing with irony (and the sound of a ripping heart) just dripping out of every line. What an amazing description of deep depression.

Do you think the irony makes the story even more tragic?

Can you think of other songs that are equally ironic and yet heartbreaking?

Irony works the same way in poetry (of course). My top choice of an ironic poem is probably Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art,” a villanelle that is one of my favorites.

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
playing card deck
Photo by Israel Garcia on Pexels.com

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What Color is My World?

Happy Thanksgiving Day to my Canadian friends! I never learned about your holiday in school, you’ll be less than pleased to know. It wasn’t mentioned even one time. But I do wish you all a lovely holiday and are thankful you are my friends (and relatives-in-law). In-law. What a funny term. I guess it means because of the legal tie of marriage. Nope, not going on that tangent today.

Going on another tangent–or back to last Thursday, maybe. Does the world look the same to you every day? At different times of the day? In different weather?

Maybe it does to some people. I suspect so because I can go for periods when colors and atmosphere seem the same day after day. So there have got to be people who are like this–the same–all the time.

But eventually my mood changes. I get a certain phone call and both light and color shift. Or a cloud slides over the sun and boom I’m in a funk.  The day had been clear primary colors with defined shapes and changes to muddy haze.

Sometimes actual changes in the environment create that shift, but sometimes it’s only how I view it.

After last week’s post about the mountain, I started thinking more about this phenomenon. In part, it was because of the wide variety of emotional response to the mountain photo I posted. Sammy mentioned mood swings because of the changing light. Jill said the photo made her feel lonesome and Adrienne and Andrea felt melancholy (although Andrea saw some hope, too). S.K. noticed that serene and lonely sometimes go hand in hand. Carrie opted for hopeful, while Jean said it was subdued but thoughtful. Jennifer noted the mountains seemed pensive. The photo made Joey sad because she doesn’t like that kind of desert landscape. Dianne and Mary Ann thought the photo image was intriguing. Shel cracked me up by titling it “Seeking Sunshine.” Derrick voted for reflective. Lostandfoundbooks said it is zenlike and hypnotic. It made Rudri feel meditative.  Carol could feel its “silent power” and thought it was inspirational. Merril and Dianne and Robin saw an ancient bird god in the photo, on top of all that. Vivachange77 (affectionately known by me as Viv) thinks the mountains are slumbering and dreaming. Kath saw her happy place! Theresa saw home.

I think my word for that mountain photo would be unsettled. And I hate that feeling. I feel it too often and it’s akin to anxiety, but not the same. Maybe I can just never get used to the southwest or the desert landscape. I crave gently rolling hills, green cornfields, and the woods (oops, a Little Red reference? haha).

I’m starting to wonder if this change of mood that alters my perception of the world around me has an effect on my writing. Does that muddier view deepen or make more complex a poem or story?

What if a writer approaches a piece in several different moods?! Does it makes the story or poem richer or does it dilute it?

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Filed under #AmWriting, Nonfiction, Writing