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Hard to Imagine: Meaning or Inspiration

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  • surforiasurforia SoCalPosts: 336
    Even after all these years, I'm still working out what I think this song is about. But I'd like to point out those first three lines are things that are literally hard to imagine: * Painting a picture using only gray * Lighting a pillow, then laying back to watch the flames * "I tell a story, but no one listens that long" -- this one is a little bit of a stretch, but this song was written during an era where seemingly everyone on earth wanted to know what Eddie Vedder wanted to say about absolutely everything (and he wasn't doing many interviews). A day to come in which nobody cared what he had to say, at that time, was "hard to imagine." I feel like this line is a little tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating. Anyway ... I don't know how that idea plays into the second verse. Still working on that one.
    I've always thought the second verse is about attempted suicide or inflicting pain on yourself (tear into yourself, count tales on your arm = slitting your wrist, attempting suicide multiple times)  I think it's an amazing song lyrically because it can be interpreted two ways: (i) negative interpretation - the depression (painting with only gray, colorless, setting yourself on fire, no one to talk to) is the current state of affairs that the narrator is lamenting (i.e., things were great before, but all is different now because the narrator is suicidal); or (ii) positive interpretation - I'm through all the dark times alluded to in the first half of the song, and all is different now.  It's almost like "Life of Pi" - the two interpretations of the boy's journey on the raft.  Just my $0.02.
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