Writer's Commentary- If I Could Give All My Love to You—or—Richard Manuel is Dead

On Post: If I Could Give All My Love to You—or—Richard Manuel is Dead
Date: January 26

This is an entry that is based almost entirely on the first sentence of the first verse and the writer, Adam Duritz, description of what inspired the song. Richard Manuel is, of course, a real person. A musician, in fact, with the band The Band. When Duritz read that Manuel had died, he says he suddenly became totally wrapped up in the idea of impermanence to the point that it kind of dislodged his sense of the world and uprooted him from the earth.
When I heard the first line, I just went to the idea of an alternate world Richard Manuel as notorious criminal. Not sure why, but that’s where my head went. So I wanted to write about how those co-conspirators left behind might react. I also wanted to incorporate that experience of being smacked in the face by something so huge and unexpected it completely derails your perception of the world, your organization of your life. Since criminals are generally a cynical hardened lot (please know, this isn’t really true, but at the level my fictional Manuel was operating, I expect they would be) I thought it’d be hard to completely gobsmack them. Hence, the “civilian” POV who, in one fell swoop, witnesses his best friend kill a man and is forced to go on the run with him.
But, really, the best part of this song coming up is that I go to write that ridiculously long title as a header. I mean, it is only 14 words, but it just looks SO long. I love inappropriately/unnecessarily long song titles.

My explanation not ring true? Do you have questions that this piece left unanswered? Reach out and touch me at tim.g.stevens@gmail.com or @ungajje on the Twitter. And, as always, spread the word.