Vonnegut had a rule for writing fiction: "Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted."
I think I'm at my happiest when writing songs, reading stories, and cooking meals for friends. Most of those things will never leave my apartment. Songs are really the only thing that does.
Songs are a positive side effect of the strategies that I've developed to keep feeling grounded and ok. It's nice that other people can listen to them, but that's far from the point. The real point is to foster a reason to be excited to come home from my real job and keep pouring time and attention into something that I can keep building for years and years and years.
It's nice that more time was spent listening to them than I spent making them with friends, but no one person spent more time around them than I did. That's good. I'm also the person who reaps the most benefits doing something that I enjoy (but also seemingly have no choice but to do).
I'm grateful that folks that I know and don't know have found a bit of value in these songs. I feel strange about the algorithms that have sent "Ohio" to a bunch of strangers because of some music streaming formula (or maybe just the SEO optimization of a song named after a state where a few million people live). I feel troubled on the days when I look at numbers and forget that they are people.
Hopefully, some of those numbers/people found something unexpected and fruitful. Or, at least, their day was not ruined.
(Though I'm sure some people have thought this was shit. In which case, that's also kinda awesome and inspiring.)
We have written another Hello Emerson record and are currently arranging it. I'm spending most of today trying to chart out how to budget it, record it, and have it mastered with a nice little bow by the first of June.
I hope you listen to it whenever it comes out. Maybe some strangers will also listen to it. And hopefully, most people will feel like it did not waste their time. Regardless, we'll make it anyway.