Singled Out: Kate Vargas' Call Back The Dogs
I have a serious love for words and how words tease out imagery. There are occasions where I hear words that ignite such an instant image in my head, that I know they must be put into a song. This was the case with "Call Back The Dogs".
I was at a Zen monastery in upstate New York, living like a monk for the weekend. It was something I viewed, at the time, as half pastime and half punishment. Regardless, I recognized that I could really benefit from being quiet.
There was a new group there and I listened in while one of the monks described meditation to them. He described our thoughts as dogs and sitting to meditate as letting the dogs off the leash. "The dogs will wander," he said, "Every now and then, they will go really far. Just call them back." I wrote down the words "call back the dogs" in my notebook and it stayed there for a couple years. But I had a distinct image of these dogs and they ran around my brain constantly. I would sit down with it and try to place it somewhere, but nothing was fitting right. I view songwriting as putting together a puzzle; when it fits, you know it fits.
One night I decided to stick with the theme of thoughts, the dogs as thoughts. What does it mean to let my thoughts wander? What makes me want to call them back? What happens when I don't? Should I? It can drive person crazy - thinking about thoughts! I made a decision to watch all these thoughts and memories and imagery without judgment, as a sort of science experiment. My song, "Call Back The Dogs", is a result of that ongoing experiment.