Sisyphus: Creative Prompt

I realize that songs are a bit trickier than stories and poems and that some of you may just not be comfortable writing a song. If that’s you, no worries! One option is to write your own lyrics to go with a famous melody. Post your lyrics and tell what melody it goes with and we can all sing it to ourselves. If this does not appeal to you either, instead you can make a playlist related to the myth (see prompt 3).

If you DO want to try out writing a song but don’t know where to start, read this guide I put together on How to Write a Song.

To share your song, record a voice memo on your phone, upload it to a free platform such as Soundcloud or Youtube, and post a link here.

  1. Make a list of things you do over and over: every day, every week, every month, or every year. Choose one of these things and write as much as you can about it for five minutes. What is it like? How does it make you feel? Why do you do it? Now write for another five minutes about Sisyphus doing this task. How does it compare to his usual routine? Does he understand it? Does he like it?

    Write a song about your chosen repetitive activity that includes one or more references to the Sisyphus myth.
  2. Write a work song for Sisyphus. A work song is a repetitive, rhythmic song that workers might sing to regulate their pace. Start by writing as much as you can for five minutes about what Sisyphus is thinking while he does his work. How does he feel mentally? How does he feel physically? How does he keep his mind occupied while doing the same thing over and over? What are his feelings about his stone? Does he feel any purpose in what he is doing?

    Pick out your favorite phrases from your quick write and build on them to write a work song in the voice of Sisyphus. You can interpret this as strictly or loosely as you want; you can consider having a simple, regular rhythm and/or a line that repeats frequently.
  3. Make a playlist of songs that express a. how you would feel if you were Sisyphus or b. how Sisyphus would feel if he were you.

One reply on “Sisyphus: Creative Prompt”

OK, here is my song, I chose to work from the last exercise we did in class, it may still go through some changes before next week. It is sung in a sultry, sexy Blues riff I made up. Since I don’t play any instruments, I have the same issue with the piano as Geoff. Therefore, I’ll have to sing it a cappella for all of you, usually okay to do via Zoom. It’s in the conventional 3 verses and choruses songwriting style.

Song to Sisyphus- Sung by his wife

Hi sweetheart, so glad you’re home from Hades
How was your crossin of the River Styx?
I’ve missed you honey, but the place is in a shambles
A list of chores needs to be done

But first
It’s been too long baby, and I deserve some lovin
Come into my arms and do me right again (repeat Chorus)

Then in the morning, the goats go up the mountain
Then in the evening, bring em back down again
The well needs flushin, and when you’re done
the rocks need scrubbin, to let the water flow

But first
It’s been too long baby, and I deserve some lovin
Come into my arms and do me right again (repeat Chorus)

Could you move the fence line, rebuild that wall
It’s always been crooked, make it straight again
Speak to your children, it’s time to clear the garbage
And if they won’t, could you dump it yourself

But first
It’s been too long baby, and I deserve some lovin
Come into my arms and do me right again
(repeat Chorus)
Then repeat ”and do me right again” 4 X and fade out

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