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I'm Writing a Novel

Father John Misty

from the album Fear Fun released in 2012

jump to: lyrics / notes & tabs / chord progressions / song info


(capo 1st fret)


E ... E ...


E I ran down the road, pants down to my knees E7 Screaming "please come help me, that Canadian shaman... ...gave a little too much to me" A E And I'm writing a novel.... because it's never been done before First house that I saw I wrote house up on the door And told the people who lived there they had to get out... ...'cause my reality is realer than yours And there's no time in the present, and there's a black dog on the bed I went to the backyard to burn my only clothes And the dog ran out and said, "You can't turn nothing... ...into nothing is with me no more" Well, I'm no doctor... but that monkey might be right


B7 C#m And if he is------------ E I'll be walking him my whole life I rode to Malibu on a dune buggy with Neil He said, "You're gonna have to drive me down on the beach... ...if you ever want to write the real" And I said "I'm sorry... young man, what is your name again?" Now, everywhere I go in West Hollywood It's filled with people pretending they don't see the actress... ...and the actress wishing that they could We could do ayahuasca... baby, if I wasn't holding all these drinks Something 'bout the way Violet whips her hair That makes me empty my pockets on the corner to corner... ...bumming twenties as if I was the mayor I don't need any new friends, Mama, but I could really use something to do So if you're up for it sometimes------ I swear you wouldn't have to be my muse Heidegger and Sartre, drinking poppy tea I could've sworn last night I passed out in my van... ...and now these guys are pouring one for me I'll never leave the canyon, 'cause I'm surrounded on all sides By people writing novels------- And living on amusement rides (end on E7 and let ring)

Notes & Tabs

Open Tuning, Capo 1st Fret

These chords / tabs assume you're playing in standard tuning with a capo on the 1st fret. I've seen Father John Misty play this with his guitar tuned down one whole step, without a capo (using chords in the key of G) -- you can do that too, if you wish. A capo is never an absolute requirement (for this, or any song) -- it simply enables you to play along with the recorded version of song without playing chords from a different key.

Guitar Chords Used

Here are tabs for the guitar chords used in this song. In addition to the E7, you can also freely use some E6, A4, and A7 chords to fill out the sound a bit -- all of these do a good job imitating the sound of the electric guitar on the recorded version. For more on this, see the riff in the section beneath this one.

e-|----0---0---2----4----   ----0----0----0----0----
B-|----0---2---0----5----   ----2----3----3----2----
G-|----1---2---2----6----   ----1----1----2----0----
D-|----2---2---1----6----   ----2----2----2----2----
A-|----2---0---2----4----   ----2----2----0----0----
E-|----0-----------------   ----0----0--------------
       E   A   B7  C#m          E6   E7   A4   A7 

Optional E → E7 Guitar Riff

Here is a riff I like to play as part of this song -- this is used to more accurately imitate the lead guitar heard on the album. Below is a tab that doesn't account for the exact rhythm and strumming pattern (listen along for reference), but the tabs should help show you how to play it. Simply use your pinky on the B string to add those extra notes -- and if you can, keep your right hand strumming along within the main rhythm / strumming pattern.

       E          E7   E6   E7   E6   E 

Watch and Play

Here is a video of Father John Misty playing this song. As I note above, he is using a guitar that isn't in standard tuning (he tunes down one whole step, using chords in the key of G). If you use a capo on the 1st fret and play in the key of E (as I show above), you can play along with him.

Chord Progressions


| E . . . | . . . . |


"I ran down the road, pants down to my knees..."
| E  . . . |  . . . . | . . . . | . . . . |
| E7 . . . |  . . . . | . . . . | . . . . |
| A  . . . |  . . . . | . . . . | . . . . |
| E  . . . |  . . . . | . . . . | . . . . |


"And if he is, I'll be walking him my whole life..."
| B7 . . . | . . . . | C#m . . . | . . . . |
| E  . . . | . . . . |   . . . . | . . . . |

Song Info

Song: I'm Writing a Novel
Artist: Father John Misty
Album: Fear Fun
Year: 2012
Label: Sub Pop

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My name is David Potsiadlo, and I created Songnotes to share my collection of guitar tabs, chords, and lyrics for my favorite songs.

Since I started playing guitar over 10 years ago, I've often been frustrated by the preponderance of mediocre and incomplete song tabs littered across the internet. To combat this, I started keeping my own collection of notes for each song I learn -- always taking the extra time to make sure accuracy and completeness are never compromised. Years later, my collection grew to the point where I knew I had to share it online with fellow aspiring musicians.

In December 2012, I began designing & developing a website that became Songnotes. Here, I share my personal collection of hand-crafted music notation with all those online. I hope you enjoy.

You can also view my personal website or follow me on Twitter / Dribbble / GitHub / LinkedIn.