“Her Letters To Joshua9” is the fourth installment of Haven. Our narrator is again in love with Coie, and seemingly having a grand time indulging in unrestrained physicality. Yet, he quickly realizes that even successful mattress gymnastics have failed to fully occupy Coie’s restless, troubled mind. The whole mess of songs is still located on the mp3 page for easy downloading.
I have had the experience described here, or at least a similar one, and although we haven’t discussed it, I think Rick has as well. You’re a young man with a young woman, and although things seem to be going well, as a certain hour approaches, you begin to sense that her mind is elsewhere, that you have gone from companion to impediment, as you are standing between her and whoever is on the other end of that screen…
Who knows how Coie met the man she and we only know as “Joshua9.” No doubt it started innocently enough, one of Coie’s online explorations bringing her into contact with the fellow on one social networking site or another. Somehow, though, as badly as she wanted to find our narrator (as she explained in the last song, “Twilight Bark”), she is unable to resist the novelty provided by her new, disembodied friend. Whatever he does or says during their moments of electronic conversation, it’s working, and if our narrator is the thing she has, Joshua9 is rapidly becoming what she wants. As the song proceeds, Coie pacifies our hero with her body, but rushes back to the computer, none-too subtly indicating where her real interest lies. Whiplashed by love, the narrator can only roll over and passively accept it when Coie informs him that Joshua9 is coming from whatever faraway land he resides in to woo her in person.
As I said at the outset of this project, the “Haven” song cycle is fictional, but aspects of it are drawn from real life. I can truthfully say that few experiences in one’s romantic life are as frustrating as competing with a ghost. You are present, you are the one making the gestures, doing the talking, laughing, touching, but some other guy who is not there somehow occupies a greater place in your lady’s mind. It occurs to me now that the proper way of dealing with this scenario is to walk, but I was never very good at taking a hint. After all, you like the girl, the girl likes you, and the competition is, for whatever reason, not present. Surely all you have to do is keep showing up, and you’ll win this one on superior attendance alone, right? Wrong.
The Internet, in its relative infancy when I had this experience, opened up endless possibilities for this sort of torture. You might have taken the girl to dinner and a movie, but Joshua9, off in Switzerland or Saskatchewan, sends superior mash notes. The reason she has to be home by 10 isn’t due to a curfew or an early day at work the next morning, but because that’s when he comes online.
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Recorded in Aug 2009, in Rick’s Home Studio
Rick: Acoustic and electrics guitars, synth/bass/drum programming, vocals
My first comment is that I’m frightened by the fact that the “recorded” date above is more than a year ago. In fairness, that was only when the process started — my laying down a guitar track (since scrapped) and Steve doing his vocals in the chorus — but still, wow.
My own experience with the type of situation described in the song is thankfully restricted to a much more platonic version where I’ve been resigned to accepting that a conversation was going nowhere until the other person turned off the computer. At the risk of seeming prehistoric, that was back when were were in college (pre-Web) using the UNIX “talk” command to chat in realtime to other students (on our IBM XTs with amber-screened CGA monitors, on 1200 baud modems, uphill both ways). Still, even back then it was obvious how the Internet was going to revolutionize communication and interpersonal relationships, even if my CS-major college roommates and I weren’t clever enough to invent Facebook at the time.
Recording items of note… the percussion is split into two parts: (1) the verses use an emulated vintage TR-808 electronic drum kit, which I chose because it reminded me of the older computers from back then, and (2) the chorus uses a more traditional set so that it has more punch. The choruses also get the addition of some brass backing to fill it out a bit.
Also, in an early version of the mix, I’d somewhat randomly dropped a single “plink” of the TR-808′s cowbell in the open space in the middle of each verse (the same place where I put the bell on the last verse). Steve did not have the fever for which it was the only prescription, so I took it out — but my kids (who had grown quite fond of it) still plaintively ask why Uncle Steve didn’t like the cowbell. Alas, I have no answer for them.
The final addition to the track was per Steve’s suggestion to bring the opening theme back for a brief fade-out at the end of the song, which he mistakenly “remembered” my having done at some point. It’s no cowbell, but it’ll do.
Her Letters To Joshua9
I vow I won’t touch
But I touch too much
There’s not an apple I leave hanging on her tree
She swears she won’t cry
So she cries inside
Pretending that she’s still in love with me
We say such pretty things
Weaving dreams in the afterglow
Tell adventurous tales of romantic heroes
And it’s all gone wrong
I may be hers but she’s not mine
It’s all gone wrong
She’s making love to me
But her fantasies are of her letters to Joshua9
Pretend that I’m blind
A blank mind unlined
With the weaknesses of fear and jealousy
She says she won’t lie
She can’t help but try
And once again she’s making love to me
When we’re done, she plugs in
Naked, blue in the plasma glow
Writing to a boy that she has come to know
Use me while I’m good for you
A haven from the hail
Let me saw the wood for you
While you’re waiting for the daily mail
Not much left to tell
Can’t put her in a pumpkin shell
Or squeeze her ’til her mind is finally clear
She says that she’s sure
But that she needs more
And now she says that boy is coming here Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5