I've had a bit of an itch to write a nostalgia song. I've been in the SCA for over half my life; I think that's long enough to legitimately look back on "way back when" with some rose-colored stained glass windows.
"Way Back When" was indeed the working title under which various ideas were banging around my head. The general idea was that way back when, I didn't know crap, and so my persona/presentation/garb/experience was more unfiltered. I didn't know what one was 'supposed' to do, and my direction was more in accord with my heart and less with the corporate goals of a 501(c)(3) educational organization. Then I got older, learned more about the community standards, and began conforming to them more. Much was gained, but something precious was also lost.
Then one day, leaving work, "It was magic, you see" popped up in my head as the intro for the evolving refrain. And when I got home, I sketched out a draft lyric.
It was... not what I thought "Way Back When" was going to be. It presented a personal evolution, taking a good deal of the bitterness out of "Way Back When" by finding magic at every stage. Only the final, backwards-looking verse/refrain reflected on the particular early magic that was lost. It's not bad - it's in fact much more optimistic - but I also feel like I weakened the emotions I was going for. Like I was walking back some of the honesty.
Except that the original "Way Back When" wasn't entirely honest, either. Nobody held a handgonne to my head and told me to up my A&S game. I did change partly out of respect for the community standards, but mostly because one day I fell unexpectedly head over heels for early period stuff. It's a different experience than the one I had when I first joined, but it's not any less dear to me for all that. So "It Was Magic" is also true.
And on the gripping hand, it's not like this is an autobiography. I'm writing a song that's inspired by my own experience, but the "poetic I" does not have to be the confessional, authentic I-myself.
(I also turned up my old copy of Heather Rose Jones' "Songbook Pusher," which contains "Music and Magic." Its chorus: "Oh, I remember the early days / It came so easy then / What are we missing? What have we forgotten? / Why can't it be magic again?" And I wondered all day if maybe I didn't need to write anything at all. But upon review - this is a similar song, with a similar pain under it, but it's not exactly the same lament.)
I suppose I could try writing both and see where they go.