I Wrestle With the Beast

by @nancycunning @tcelliott

Liner Notes

Nancy: While I was procrastinating choosing chords for another set of @tcelliott's lyrics, I came across these (https://fiftyninety.fawm.org/songs/791) and loved them right away. In a session last week, Andrea Stolpe was talking about a song that used an AABCCB rhyme scheme in the verses and suggested trying that out. Since @tcelliott said it was fine to mangle his lyrics, I restacked them and then that led to some other fiddling, and I decided I wanted one more verse to beat the listener over the head with the idea that THIS IS A SONG ABOUT WRITING A SONG ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS TO WRITE A SONG.....As a sequel, maybe we can write a song about how easy it is to write the next draft of someone else's song, rather than to fix up your own...

T.C.: I love how this turned out. Thank you Nancy!!!


I Wrestle With The Beast
(Created by @tcelliott, reconfigured by @nancycunning)

I sit down and I start to write
A song or two by candlelight
Until my thoughts run thin and dry
What use is this I wonder when
I scratch out lines I can’t quite mend
I start to cease to even try
But I wrestle, I wrestle
I wrestle with the beast

I get up and I pace around
Step by step retracing ground
I battle with my muse at night
I’d like to do the best I can
But how to I finish what I began
Can’t seem to sing, can’t seem to write
But I wrestle, I wrestle
I wrestle with the beast

In my mind this blankness grows
And swallows every phrase I chose
It’s not simple to write a single word
But I won’t quit, I’ll buckle down
I’ll sit up late and stand my ground
Bare my soul while my mind’s disturbed
I’ll wrestle, I’ll wrestle
Wrestle with the beast

I’ll staple scales on to the page
I’ll breathe a whisper of the rage
Silhouette that monster for now
Sketch a chorus, Nail a verse
May not be good, but it could be worse
I ‘ll hammer out a song ‘bout how
I wrestle, wrestle
Wrestle with the beast

How I wrestle and wrestle
How I wrestle with the beast


Another great lyric. Nancy--every line you seen to write sounds natural and conversational and they make me think of something Bob Zimmerman once sang: "every one of them words rang true and glowed like burning coal". Not just on this one, either. You are quite a talented lyricist, ma'am.


Oh yes I enjoyed my listen. Highly relatable lyrics as I wrestle with my own beast more than occasionally! Simple singing and guitar/ukulele is always my favourite choice for seeing if a song works other than the propped up structure of a full production and this song stands strong! Ace song both!


Brilliant lyrics by @tcelliott given a fantastic treatment by @nancycunning so instantly memorable and relatable...no frills...a song that stands up on its own without any need for more...great combination of highly developed skills...top notch!


Very nice song and collaboration. Relatable and upbeat, creative and fun. Lovely singing and playing. Motivation for songwriters too:)


It's so interesting to listen to songs about writing songs. They are so relatable though everybody has a different approach on songwriting. When I feel like this, it's better to quit and do something else. Sometimes even stop writing songs and lyrics for days and weeks. It's interesting how your guitar playing intensifies during the song.


i love the way the music moves along from the first word of each verse to the last. although i dont recall ever struggled with a song in these ways, your methodical descriptions get me excited about the very idea of writing a song. this is my favorite song about writing a song even though it describes a totally different process from my own. (I do my struggling in advance of the actual writing and therefore the writing itself comes very easily)


Never thought of a song muse as a 'beast'! The 'AABCCB' rhyme scheme is a good one to use to get past the usual AABB or ABAB patterns! A good song about blocks we sometimes face in our songwriting.


Good sounding tune that's relatable. Enjoyed listening.