In January I had an idea to go back into the studio and write some new music. Lots of people know that I’ve recorded three albums. By lots, I mean dozens. Those albums were amazing outlets for me to work through my thoughts, but more importantly, I just enjoy writing music. In January of this year, I started a new song and had a brilliant idea. I would write a new song every month about what I was thinking, feeling, experiencing. But I couldn’t get past the first line. It’s a really good line. I’ve sat down at least ten times to get past the line, but it just won’t come out.
So, in February, I started a new song. It has an amazing feel. Billy Joel and Elton John in my head. A little funky, but straight piano rock. (I have this app on my phone where I record my melodies and ideas because I’ll forget them so quickly if I don’t.) I’ve got a tight piano groove and a mumbled, monosyllabic mutter throughout…but no words. Not even one word.
Again in March, I tried. Another really cool vibe, but no words. April, same thing. That song is epic. Really big, really fun. An anthemic chorus. No words.
For those four months, I have four tunes and one line. I need a second line.
I started reading Steven King about four years ago. Actually, I read his book On Writing about eight years ago. It’s part memoir, part how-to-write. It’s so good. It made me want to write even more. After reading it, I assumed that I should probably read some of his fiction. If he can write about writing that well, surely he can write. I began with a tome- 11/22/63. I was blown away by the character development, the story arc, the creativity. I just kept reading him. A few other fiction books mixed in after I finish one, but I keep coming back to him.
Except that I’m in the middle of one right now, and I’m having a hard time picking it back up. The story is good and I’m interested. But I keep coming up with other excuses of things to do. (I only read one fiction book at a time, but I’ll have several non-fiction books going often.)
I love fiction. It is often more honest than anything else that I’m reading. Not real, not factual, but true. But I haven’t picked it back up in over a month. Maybe two. I’m sure a counselor could sort it out, but I’m log-jammed.
I’ve sat down to write here a dozen times over the last year. But nothing will come out. Every time that I sit down, I have this story in my head that I need to tell. But I don’t want to. I want to talk about my life. For me.
I always wrote for me. My memory is lousy, and I needed to remember. I have nearly two years of my life on paper. Holidays and normal days, silly conversations and important ones, comedy and tragedy. And I’m so glad that I wrote them down. I now have a collection of these beautiful stories of our life for a season. Writing helped me to see the sacred inside of the struggle. And I haven’t reflected for the sacred in a long time. Because every time I sit down to write, I need to tell this story. But I don’t want to.
I don’t want to tell the story of that last weekend. I don’t want to remember the final breath. I really don’t want to see my kids faces again when I told them that their mom was gone. I don’t want to go to the funeral again or watch my brothers and nephews carry the casket. But I need to. It’s time to. It’s time to unjam the logs and write again. Not because writing is magic, but because writing helps me to see. To see the beauty and the sacred in the mundane and the monotonous. To see joy and to see pain. To see that tragedy and suffering aren’t the worst parts of life, but that they are simply parts of life.
So, tonight I’m going to pick my book back up. Tomorrow I’m going to go back to the piano and sit there until I get that second line. And sometime soon, I’m going to tell the story.