EVENT: Deborah Bartley plays with Susan Kirk at the OK Hotel on Mon Jan 29.
Do you get songwriting ideas from reading? What books have you been reading lately?
"Lately I've been reading Yoga and the Search for True Self, but I haven't gotten any good song ideas from that one. I stole a book from my roommate, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, but that hasn't been good for song ideas either. The last book that inspired a song was Immortality by Milan Kundera."
What did that inspire?
"It's called 'Sweet Old Fashioned,' about this woman who decides she's going to go to her lover's house who left her and wait for him, but she kills herself just before he gets there. It's kind of a psychodrama, a kind of murder ballad, but it's a suicide ballad, and a confession song."
How about books from your childhood?
"Actually, I just got The Velveteen Rabbit for my niece. It was funny: I'm totally into this story, because it's this philosophical little kids' book, and she opened it at Christmas when there were like 14 people around. So she opens it up and starts telling the story. She talks a little bit, but she can't read of course, because she's two years old--and she sees the pictures and goes into this story. She'd turn the page and say, 'Oh! And the bunny hurts! The sun is in his eyes!' And I thought, 'You know what, just give me that book back.' I had planned to go and curl up with her and read it to her, and she made her own story. I'm like, 'Can we back up a little bit? Okay, see, the rabbit is looking for love. It's not about him falling on his face.'"