"In most of the ballad stuff I do I try to use a chorus like a needle and thread, to pull the song together. A lot of times I've written just with the idea of experimenting," Prine explained in a 1974 interview with Bruce Pollock
. "'Donald and Lydia' - I had no idea what I was going to write about, but I knew how I was going to set the song up. I was going to set it up character by character."