December 30, 2022
I wrote this song on November 23, 2021, and quickly keyed into the concepts of ego, manipulation and cheating your values to get ahead and win an argument. “Worth” was the decided title, reflecting the question one might ask themselves after a fight. “Was it worth it?”
Worth / Five of Swords completed production 11 months later, on December 20, 2022. I began preparing for its release – starting with the music video. I had just gotten a green screen and wanted to try some different video elements to make things more interesting. I had an idea of taking multiple shots of myself in different positions, depicting me having an argument with myself. That would showcase the theme of the card, wouldn’t it? I got to work. The hallway was cluttered with items I had to move out of my studio to make room for my green screen and other equipment. When my mother-in-law visited over Christmas, she looked at my studio and said, “What IS all that?” All said and done, setup and shooting took about 10 hours over two days.
The editing was a shark that would bite and drag me under. First, I spent seven hours compiling and editing the first draft. I showed my husband, Miah. The “Me arguing with Me” theme did not make sense to him. Dejected, I asked for his suggestions. He recommended using war subject matter, showing strong examples of conflict and loss. I was trepidatious. I’m not a highly political person; I’m a Libra. I prefer peace and balance. I was uncomfortable making a video with such powerful connotations, but I was out of ideas and not feeling very creative, so I went for it.
Another eight hours later, I thought I had something viable. I showed Miah. I texted my producer. Brian had suggestions for how I could take it to the next level. Another day of work led me to images of deforestation, pollution, war, and terrorism. I was getting way off track, and it wasn’t good. I was just about to give up and release the song without a corresponding video, when I decided to take one more look through the Creative Commons images and videos available online for free use. I started finding pictures of people arguing, and shots illustrating people feeling defeat. It felt like something I was more comfortable sharing in a public forum.
Six more hours consumed me. Edit after edit. Finally, the video felt correct. I pried the shark’s mouth open and swam to the surface.
The Five of Swords turned out to be a confusing card for me. Perhaps due to the confusing nature of conflict. Perhaps because my creative compass is broken. My energy, emotions and mental state are still fragile and unpredictable from the trauma of going through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment this year. Right now, I’m running solely on sheer will and dedication to this project – fighting to hang on until I begin to enjoy myself again and can feel my spark. I hope I got Worth right. But even if I didn’t, that’s ok. I still honored my talents and created something. There’s still a message to be shared, in a song that speaks of loss and isolation after a heated argument.