In a long email thread with Jason Molina back in 2008, I made a passing comment about having trouble finishing some Tre Orsi songs. He hammered out this reply a few hours later on his Blackberry.

I have a lot of reservations about posting private correspondence, but what he says here is so thoughtful, helpful, and kind. I think it’s as fine an example as any as to why he was so loved by his friends and was such a fucking magnificent artist.

(Paragraph breaks added for legibility, but otherwise this is copied-and-pasted.)

On Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 6:04 AM, jason molina <> wrote:

Thnx for nice words. Frgive shortening of words. No computer due to crash.  Thank god my demos are on cassette.   You too are a wonderful musician.  To define sngwrter is hard but I am glad you think I’m a decent one.  I am really a failed bass player.  I had to pick up the band to cover for our singer in the 80’s who got arrested before a show.   I was standing there and knew I wrote the lyrics and most of the music and just had to do it if the show would go on.   Here are a few ideas for you to try or not try. These are very basic but strictly followed for about three days…

You only get that coffee by the way after the first hour.      Wrking and writing within a system can really help when going through a bad time.  Its gold when it works and if it tanks,  well you tried.  Will give a few old tried and true  below till my fingers hurt.  Hope you are well.  I really love all of my time in your company.  It is a huge joke the the west virginian coal mining town hillbilly trailer park  songwriter has moved here. Fuck this towne  Downward mobility I’m lovin it. . Here is a list of a few songwriting kickoffs.

1.  Wake up one hour earlier than usual.  Don’t fuck around with this hour.   Have a glass of water and go to the toilet and sit down at a desk and write.  One hour and not on a computer.  Set a kitchen timer. Better to hear it ring from another room than to keep watching your watch   You aint writing a song or a poem or a msterpiece.   Just write.      It helps to have a good dictionary and one around 1950 is best since it has all you need and is prior to the gutting of so many importnt things.  Pick a page.  Just find a word you like not really random. Then write something like yhe opposite of the deffinition.  Or write a short eight liner about two random things out of the page in front of you. Pile of drgs and mark e smth and you got a fall song.  Personally think its dangerous.

2. A good book. Get a good and not cheap copy. Read about three pages prior to number one read it fast and reread and since its only a few pages take notes.   Also don’t listen to music at this time.  Just mining for ideas.  . Make your own lists and notes and hey you have these pieces and you will see how you can go frm here.    during that hour in nmber one exploit thatgood dxtionary.  Let it take you all over the place.   In about an hour you will have great words and nothing academic and you will easily put your own personal language and  matter material in the midst of such hard fought and won writing.   The music will be next.   That one is another chapter.   Take care. Yours in the good fight.  Hugs.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device


  1. bentonfrench reblogged this from matthewbarnhart and added:
    Molina words of wisdow via
  2. daring-dame reblogged this from matthewbarnhart and added:
    Writing advice from the late, great Jason Molina.
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  7. oldforce reblogged this from matthewbarnhart and added:
    sounds like a plan
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    I’m pretty sure that Jason Molina is the first person whose death I found out about on Tumblr. I think this is worth...
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