Alas, I missed last week’s post. I was up to my neck in writing a song, with a deadline, and hitting wall after wall. The walls were my own creations — rebuttals, critiques, mountains of rejection. Nothing I could come up with felt like the “gem.”
This was a song commissioned by a friend for their partner, and we’d spent two sessions visiting, (with me scrawling massive amounts of notes,) to lay the groundwork. I had three sheets filled with tightly packed information. I warned my friend, “I’m writing a lot down, I won’t be using most of it, in fact, probably hardly any of it, but, I need it.”
Why? Because of the gem. That’s all I’m really after. But, to get there, sometimes it takes mounds and mounds of geological research, sorting through rough stones, and cutting into several to see what they’re like on the inside. How about from this angle, how about in this light?
So, I roller-coastered through many days and days of feverish scribbles and long, drawn out repetitions of ideas that I hoped would grow on me. Nah, they still sucked, because they didn’t seem to simply hit at the heart of the matter for my friend. At least, they didn’t feel that way.
A lot of those ideas were really cool, don’t get me wrong. They had awesome alliterations, anastrophes, metaphors, unusual rhyme schemes, or just super witty combinations. So great! But, would they work to draw those friends into the luminous, clarifying magnet that is the gem?
Certainly, many of my songs don’t really qualify as this, but I like to think that some of the better ones do. And when I’m commissioned to write a song, it’s usually because the person has a need express something in this way, so I do my best to find it.
Here’s what I think I really mean: I’m looking for the gestalt-like moment that opens a flow of understanding and connection, and the emotional reaction that comes with it. I’m listening for, and watching for, any hint of radiance, any ray of light that might guide us to that moment, that gem. It’s certainly not a palpable thing. It’s a whole moment, greater than its parts, that we crave to find and experience. The mysterious part is, it’s always there, simple and quietly waiting, just like light.
Sean (my husband,) recently was asked by his work to come up with two of his “core values.” He decided on truth and love. I think that’s what gems are made of.
*****I would post the song for you to hear, but it's a surprise gift for someone. So we'll have to wait on that.