Have you ever noticed that you can’t fix people no matter how much you love them or how right you think you are. I have always heard that you can’t help someone get sober unless they want it for themselves. It sounds alright when you are talking about a another grown up but when it comes to your kids it is a whole different ball of wax.
So when it comes to song writing (and there is a connection) I find that songs will come and I often don’t know what they are about. I rarely sit down to write a song with a specific idea in my head. I just sit and play around on the guitar or piano and hopefully something starts to take shape. If I try to figure it out and “work” on it too soon, it is often the end of that. I try to trust the process and even when a song comes to a bitter end I file it away because the unfinished idea often leads me to something else like a “detour”. Sometimes I get enough of a nugget that if I just keep playing it over and over, the rest will follow. At this point that takes weeks and months. I believe that is due to the fact that I don’t always have a ton of patience. I give it 15 minutes and throw in the towel in utter frustration. I do know that song writing is a craft and you really have to work at it. I haven’t done that for a long time and with 4 kids my life comes in sound bites now. I have to retrain myself to stick with something for more than a half hour at a time.
Yesterday I started working on something new. I have had the idea sort of floating around in my head for some time now. Now it has become a refrain or chorus with music. It is really the song already. Most songs (as described by John Melancamp) really boil down to one line. The idea is simple and strong and the rest is just supporting material because no one wants to listen to a one line song. So were it left in the “nut shell” the song is done but I know there is still “work” to be done.
Now the connection and I hope you can follow…. I sort of think of my songs as my babies. They really don’t “belong” to me. They are only with me for awhile and I am just the vessel. I am really there to guide them into the light. They will eventually stand on their own two feet and go out into the world and become more themselves. Everyone who listens will hear something different and some songs will speak to you more than others. Are you still with me because here comes another strange connection. I thought I was writing a song about my kids, for my kids really but as I was listening to myself yesterday I realized that it could just as easily be a song about myself. Per my recent posts, I am discovering new fears that I have been grappling with for sometime. A fear of success. I get close but something always seems to stop me dead in my tracks. Really that is something for another post but it is so strange how when you start pulling on threads, seemingly unraveling the tapestry, the picture actually starts to get clearer. You really start to get to the heart of it all and all the dots somehow become connected.
This journey is so hard sometimes but so exhilarating and rewarding, like raising kids. You learn more about yourself than I ever thought possible. Now what to do with all that. Keep writing songs, and don’t try to “fix” anything. It is all what God meant for you anyway and you are right where He wants you to be. Quit running, stand still, write songs and just breath and be grateful.