An introduction to our new regular series of good reasons for songwriters and song-lovers to rejoice, to keep hope alive in the timeless promise of songs, even now .
SONGWRITERS: Have you ever tried to write a song on a rollercoaster in motion? It isn’t easy. Sure, maybe easier than on a Tilt-A-Whirl. But any kind of solid ground is preferable.
Yet our lives can become emotional roller-coasters, wildly ascending and plummeting in endless loops as we react in real-time to our own lives, and those we witness. Now plugged perpetually into the Internet, there is an infinite supply of reasons to despair. Even when your own life is going smoothly, it only takes a few minutes to find some reason for sorrow, or perhaps outrage.
Songwriters are rarely the kind of people who don’t let life in, and don’t spend any time thinking or caring about other people. They are usually the deep-thinking, extremely sensitive, empathetic ones, so that they can be like raw nerves in the world, feeling everything deeply.
Yet despair is not conducive to good writing. Yes, heartbreak and other sorrows can often trigger deeply beautiful music. But deep despair can be immobilizing, and harmful to one’s creative spirit. If you focus on it all the time, it will expand. That spark that first inspired you to write songs comes from the inner child, the playful creative part of you that is pure imagination and wonder, and not burdened by the sorrows of the world. Deep despair can damage that spark, and even extinguish it. So rather than focus on the darkness, and living within it, look to the light.
The light? Don’t worry. That does sound religious, but as anyone who has spent any significant time in their own private Tower of Song knows, it’s important to open the blinds, and let in the light. Unless you want to write only slow, sad ballads and/or the blues. Let the sunshine in.
The light is everything and anything which restores your spirit, and doesn’t darken your spirit in any way. Any source of joy, or relief from worry, is powerful medicine for your creative spirit.
Many songwriters worry, with good reason, about the artistry of songwriting being lost, and becoming extinct. The artistry that encompasses all the aspects of songwriting which instill timeless power into a song, even old-school ones such as melody and rhyme. That artistry is what has sustained us through the years in the songs through the generations. And it is never gone for long,
Yet always there are new reasons to rejoice, and great songwriters new and other artists old bringing in the light – the new songs, new signs of hope, new books, new wisdom and anything else that can bring some joy to those digging dailly in the songwriting trenches.
Our first installation, which will also be published today, is a celebration of Jules Shear, and his album Slower.
That comes next.
But first, one song to pave the way towards our Jules-fest, the glorious “Feels Like Fall.”