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I wrote this little ditty for Day 202 of the WeCreateNow project. The photo by Sam reminded me of a very specific place from high school, which let me to submit the story prompt that was drawn: “Sun splatters on the trail.” I thought again of my high school sweetheart.

Our hometown has patches of woods between subdivisions and we spent a lot of time there, riding bikes and being eaten alive by mosquitos. It was a perfect summer that seemed to last forever. The memories are so vivid, it’s hard to believe that I haven’t really seen any fireflies since I moved away. Maybe they’re less common in Pittsburgh or maybe I just haven’t been outside the city at dusk much these days.

Where You and the Moon is a tiny moment near the end, A Spark zeroes in on that first summer. Originally I wrote the song in direct address perspective, but when I was gearing up to record it, I switched to third person as a way of inserting more distance between then and now. I do think there’s something intensely selfish about young love. Through the eyes of your first other, you start to define and validate yourself. Third person better captures that sense of personalization, at least for me. If you prefer it the old way, I’m sorry! You can always go back to the old sketch on YouTube. Granted that version is much faster, sloppier, and in a lower key.

Making this track felt more like painting than producing. I’m usually quite deliberate with writing parts, but here I used loops and layers like a watercolor wash. It was hard to pull references for an artsy song in 7/8. I was really inspired by the bird sounds on JVKE’s Golden Hour. The spring and autumn ambience I used came from an audio library called ZapSplat. Even though I licensed the samples for use without attribution, I thought the library might be helpful to link here if someone reading wants to experiment with a similar idea. I’d never done anything like this before, but I think it’s fitting for a song like this, that feels like a specific place. KM

A Spark

He followed me home
I walked in silence
And listened to his awkward reveries
Who would’ve known
That those idle evenings would become a pastime
My favorite routine

When the days grew longer
We cut through the park
Made friends with mosquitoes
Til fireflies lit up the dark
I didn’t know much of love but I felt a spark

Almost eighteen
Caught in the moment
Learning how to lose all sense of time
Felt like a dream
All that I wanted in the palm of his hand
And his hand in mine

But the nights grew colder
And his tongue turned sharp
Farewell to the summer
Hello to my first broken heart
We didn’t know it was love but we lost the spark

When I look back now
There isn’t a doubt

We were young and crazy
Brilliant but not smart
I don’t hate or regret him
I just keep him in the corner of my heart
I let go of my love
But I kept a spark

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