I just saw an interview PJ Harvey gave just after releasing White Chalk. She apparently was creatively blocked after Uh Huh Her. What she decided to do was to pick up a new instrument. She’d never played the piano earlier, but ended up writing her next album with a piano. That to me is amazing. How does she do it? She just sits down and pretends to be a virtuoso pianist(!). Then she records herself playing, and uses “what works”. That’s like one of the greatest thing I’ve ever heard. So much plays out in your head when you create something, and if you put yourself in a state where you really believe that you can do something, and forget about criticizing for a moment, a lot of interesting stuff can come out of it.
Ok, lets not forget that Polly Jean is more or less a genius. Or maybe that’s simplifying everything. Maybe she just works really really hard, with a wonderful talent and an unstoppable curiousness. I think that’s what she would have said herself. Calling her a genius would be simplifying her writing process, saying that things just “pour out” of her. I think she has said herself that it doesn’t work like that, that she does work very hard all the time.
I feel so helpless with a guitar in my hands, but maybe if I play every day for a year things would seem less complicated. Polly Jean would NEVER give up.
Am loving her new album so much. It’s been on repeat for weeks. Don’t have tickets for tonights show here in Paris. I’m so immensly disappointed… Hoping to see her next time she’s in town.