Recently I made a promise to myself that I’d be careful about the time I have left on the planet. There’s a lot I want to do, several books that I want to write, so I decided that I’d make sure to engage consciously in all my activities. I decided that I had to be doing one of four things – sleeping; eating; working; playing. If I wasn’t engaged in one of those activities then I was just wasting time and that was forbidden. I knew when I set up this system of personal accountability that I’d have to be especially careful with that last category; I know from experience how easily we humans can lie to ourselves and the definition of playtime was inherently elastic.
That said, I do love my playtime; that’s when I get to pretend that I’m a singer/songwriter.
It’s all about a love affair that I have with the guitar. I love the purity of the instrument. Once I took a guitar up to the helideck on an offshore drilling platform (long story, some other time perhaps). It was a dark and windy night and for a while I just sat there with the instrument in my lap, looking up at the night sky and thinking about all my friends, one by one, locating them in my memory and touching each in turn with fondness and acceptance. That’s when the guitar began to sing, all by itself. I closed my eyes and listened and it was a perfect song, perfectly played, by the wind that had stopped to caress the strings and fill the guitar body with its music.
That was then. Now things are simpler, more mundane. I write simple songs and set them to simpler melodies and utilize such skills as I have to make music. I love it when I can tell a story in a song.
Here’s one that I wrote about a love story. You have to imagine the protagonist singing to the one.
If I told you that I loved you
Would you take my hand and stay
Or would you shrug, uncomprehending,
Then just turn and walk away?
Would you still be so unfeeling
If I begged for you to stay?
Must I hold my love inside me
Must I never let you see
With your fire, how my heart burns
For your touch, how my skin yearns
Must I bring the stars above
To make you see my love?
But how crazy if it happens
That you give your love to me
More than the stars that crowd the heavens
More than the fishes in the sea
In days that last a lifetime
Forever you’ll be mine.
It’s set to music, but my songwriting skills don’t allow me to put the music down on paper. Now I’m playing with the Muse software, trying to teach myself to write out the melodies that come out of my guitar sometimes. It’s all fun.
Okay, back to work now.
PS: The worst mass murder incident in the United States of America’s history was perpetrated around 2:00 a.m. this morning, according to the television news reports. People I know may be among the vicitms; people I care about most certainly were. They were all my brothers and sisters and I am devastated that someone was able to do this to them. Let us come together to do everything we can to demonstrate our determination to respect and protect each other. We are one, regardless of whatever disagreements we share about the way we live and love.