A book of Paul Simon lyrics, as described by Stephen Colbert, is a perfect gift for someone who loves lyrics but hates music. As for myself, I love music and lyrics, but Paul Simon lyrics, even individual lines, stick in my head all by themselves. That might have started years ago when a girl sighed and remarked at the beauty of the line from America. It broke me out of a trance, I suppose, and made me realize that there could be more to a line than just a sleeping woman on a train and an absent comment. I also remember wondering what the sophomore from my calculus class was trying to say to me at that instant while she paused.
No matter. We went to the beach for the day and that was really the highlight of that relationship. But I still am trying to figure out that one line. I have a different way of telling its story each time I say it.
Pick a favorite Paul Simon line and from it begin writing an essay. If I were a composition instructor, that might be how I’d run a class. It’s good that I’m not a composition instructor.
“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping.
I get the news I need from the weather report.
(Only Living Boy in New York)
Everybody loves the sound of the train in the distance; everybody thinks it’s true.
(Train in the Distance)
I’m gonna stand guard like a postcard of a Golden Retriever.
(Father and Daughter)