Ghost Ship Writers – Song Story
Ghost Ship Writers paints a poetic picture of honoring the writers of history and comparing the process of writing a song and writing a book. The words “Ghost Ship” refers to authors of the past.
The song starts with the refrain of “Chasin’ ghost ship writers up a tall magnolia tree” – a poetic reference to thinking about or pursuing the works of authors of the past . The next line of “They were driven to their writings – Was their hands that set them free” implies that all authors are driven to create which they do by writing down their words (or music) with their hands. The third line of “Searchin’ for a word that fits – While they look inside their isles & wits” is the never ending process of searching for just the right word or phrase that gives the thought or mental image you are trying to create – whether in a book or a song. Where you search is in your own frame of reference in your mind and your own personal experiences which is represented by the words “inside their isles (the island of personal experiences) and wits (your mind). The last line of the refrain “And they never – And they never reach the end” implies that when you create a book, poem or song – that work of art never dies – it never reaches the end.
The first verse “Oh I was safe in salty Saint Marie – Off the coast of what was once a sea” sets the geographic location for the song story of Sault Ste. Marie Canada. The “off the coast of what was once a sea” is a bit of poetic license for Lake Superior which abuts the Western side of Sault Ste. Marie – not sure if it was ever a sea – but it is big enough to be one. The second line “And the wind And the rain And the rocks – And the sea gulls proud” – refers to what you would experience on the Western side of Sault Ste. Marie during any type of storm or rain event – it sort of paints a mental picture of that area. The third line “We were both engaged in writing lies – Me a song and him a book so wise” compares the processes of writing a song and a fiction based book. The fourth line “That the world would stop and cherish – Another paperback on the shelf” – is perhaps a bit of a sarcastic reference – when you write a new song or a book, the author usually feels it is going to be a great work of art – but often only ends up as another paperback/or song on the shelf. The fifth line of “We were both deceived in what we saw – But we both agreed on the strength of the call” relates to usually being deceived that the book or song you are creating is going to be a great work of art – but you always know that one cannot resist the call of creating said song or book. The last line of “And to make – Something new where nothing was” – relates again to the creative process – whether it is a new song or a new book/poem the author creates an ever-lasting piece of art (from your mind) that did not exist before.
The second verse starts “Before the greats of Monday – Turn to Tuesday afternoon” – refers to the aging of the authors of the current time or the authors of the past. The second line of “There’s a bridge on which they travel – With good fortune and the moon” – refers to the metaphysical bridge of time and the fact that words, poems & songs can bridge the gap between the centuries (sort of a time machine). The mini Bridge first line of “Read the words of William Penn – And a thousand other ancient men” refers to when one reads the words of authors of the past (Chose William Penn because he was a prolific author for his time and his name fit really well for the song). The second line of “And their lines – Are the proof of what they were” – meaning when you read the words of authors of the past – their words give you a glimpse of what they were and how they thought of the world across the centuries of time.