Kavalier Calm's Crowdsource Inspiration

I'm KC, The People's Bard. I write songs and poems inspired by the people I meet on the internet. Ask, and I’ll write something for you.
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  • One of my songs was used in a cat video on YouTube. I’ve finally made it. I’m winning the internet. — Kavalier Calm

    Some nights you just have to drink a whole bottle of wine and cry about not being famous.

    My blog turned 3 years old today. I’ve written almost 400 full-length songs in that time, mostly as gifts for strangers I’ve met through the internet.

    These have been the best 3 years of my life.

    Tumblr’s creator Karp revealed in June 2012 that “between 2 and 4 percent of Tumblr’s traffic is porn-related.” That must mean between 98 and 96 percent of Tumblr’s traffic is selfie, cat gifs, or pizza related.

    Hello , I just found your blog and wanted to share a small piece of my thoughts. I'm 17 and I live in Korea. I just felt, smelled, saw and thought through the things around me. I thought this is the life and the world. I sometime felt maybe the foreign countries doesn't exist and all the stories and photos about them are all lies. But when I started tumblr on my own, I came to see that the world does exist and it was glad but also kind of sad cause there's too many ;pts of people better than me

    Asked by bakuroasis

    The timing of this message is so bizarre. I was on the metro today, looking at all the strangers, and realized that for the most part, people are just props on the stage of my life. There are just so many people that most of the time they blend into my surroundings like trees and street lamps and cars. I know, of course, that all these people—like me—are full of stories of love and loss and unfulfilled dreams, but actually trying to conceptualize that would be exhausting. Think of how much work it is to know—to truly know—the few people in our life, our family and friends, and then imagine multiplying that work times seven billion. It’s natural and probably healthy that we don’t spread ourselves thin—that we are very selective in who we notice and who we love

    Your message made me realize that Tumblr—and the internet in general—make this healthy filtering process very difficult. I am bombarded by the images and stories of thousands of interesting people every day on Tumblr. And when I get a snapshot of these people, something in me wants to know them. I don’t filter them out automatically like the people I see on the street; I think it’s the venue, how a blog post is essentially someone carefully choosing what they want to share about themself, that grabs my attention. A guy standing next to me on the sidewalk doesn’t care if I notice him. But if someone posts a story about a horrible breakup, it is specifically because they want someone to notice. And so I try to notice. It would feel wrong to not try. Not that it’s very difficult; I almost can’t help but notice. I think that’s really why I’m writing songs and poems for people with this blog. Because I want to connect with people—new people with beautiful stories and ideas—and they are everywhere on Tumblr, an infinite supply of interesting people. But it’s too much. It’s impossible to know all these people. Maybe the internet is spreading me thin—by connecting with thousands, I’m not really connecting with anyone. Maybe I should look through most of these other bloggers like they are trees and street lamps and cars. Like they are props.

    But I don’t want to. It feels right. It feels right that my life is full of more people and fewer props. I don’t think any of us have learned yet how to best manage our emotional energy in this new, hyper-connected world. But should we deny the opportunity to know so many? No. We should appreciate the opportunity and find a way to make it work, to know as many as we can and live lives full of many human connections—lives that would have seemed impossibly full just twenty years ago before the internet was around. The internet makes our opportunities for connecting with people infinite. We just have to learn how to grow our capacity for connection. And that is, in a sense, what my blog is for. Posting the songs and poems I write for others is a way to manage all of my new connections and keep forever all the wonderful stories and emotions I’ve shared with these people. Are there better ways to do it? More emotionally efficient? Maybe. But this is the only way I know how to do it, and I don’t plan to stop any time soon—maybe ever. — KC

    Harvey challenged me to write a song about finding a good friend on the internet. We talked about the magic of this happening and how, because of social media like Tumblr, it’s more possible all the time. I asked him to tell me about his internet friend, Sumi, and what she meant to him. After hearing about this incredible person, the songwriting was easy. I translated his musings into these lyrics, and I wrote and recorded the piece in a raw and sparse way; I thought that matched the emotions well, though I wish you could all be in my bedroom with me and hear it live. Enjoy, friends. If enough of you do, I’ll put this up for free download. Much love. — KC

         Together In Spirit

    Everyone is kind deep down inside,
    but the world wants us to be mean.
    You taught me from an ocean away
    its okay to care: it doesn’t make us weak.

    We’re only together in spirit,
    but that’s the closest to anyone I’ve ever been.

    And I think you’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen
    even if I’ve never seen you in the flesh.
    It’s funny how strangers forgive every little flaw
    that those close to us can’t seem to ignore.

    You showed me that distance has nothing to do with it.
    Friendship is bigger than the miles.
    When we meet, I’ll take your hands,
    and you will feel the wrists you saved.

    Just found out the train I’ll be on for 12 hours does NOT have wifi. Is this what The Dark Ages was like?

    Sometimes the internet feels like being at a huge party and suddenly realizing I don’t know anyone or what I’m doing here. Tumblr is like the moment at those parties when I shrug, get a drink, and decide to stay anyway.

    An unavoidable side-effect of some of my work getting love is it also gets hate. I’m fine with criticism, mainly because I’m my biggest critic. I’m not very fond of sweeping and unexplained rude comments about my craft, though. And I admit I almost let a troll win recently; for a millisecond I doubted what I’m doing with CI, thought about throwing in the towel. But then I remembered the enormous support I’ve had from listeners so far. I felt guilty about my self-doubt and realized I had to combat the emotion and what caused it. So, I wrote a song for trolling trolls. Whenever someone trolls on my work, I’m going to share this YouTube link of me playing this song. I welcome you to do the same to the trolls in your life. This could be like rickrolling or trolololing for the good guys. I should clarify that I’m not opposed to all trolling; in fact, I enjoy and participate in the craft of witty, logic-based trolling. I’m against hate-based trolling, the kind that needlessly hurts feelings and adds ammunition to the people and companies trying to rob our right to anonymity on the internet. I dedicate this song to these Tumblr blogs with great trolling content: f***yeahtrollface, trollfacecomic, trollhatesyou, trolldadcomic, trollthisway, trollney, and foreveralonecomic. Downloads of this track are available here and on YouTube here. I hope others enjoy this and find it to be a useful counter-attack. — Kavalier Calm


    Troll, I bet you were bullied in grade school:
    the kids laughed at your macaroni art.
    And now in the name of karma,
    you use the internet to spread your hurt.
    Well, two wrongs don’t make a right,
    and you hurt our right to anonymity.

    I bet you’re pushed around at work
    all day by some a-hole boss,
    and rather than stand up to him,
    you power trip on message boards.
    Your troll mother should have taught you:
    if you have nothing nice to say, shut up.

    Troll, you don’t like my song?
    Well, it wasn’t written for you.
    Shove that comment somewhere dark
    and find something better to do.

    And I know you’ve never been in love
    ‘cause you don’t know how to forgive flaws.
    You must get tired of being right all the time,
    as tired as everyone is of you.
    Well, haters gonna hate,
    and haters gonna be lonely.

    And troll, don’t give up hope; we can still be friends
    if you learn to be nice and see the bright side of things.
    But if you insist to be glass half-empty, cold, cruel, and rude,
    then I only have one thing to say to you.