It is the writer's privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.
Occasionally during this Summer of Songs I'll give myself a little challenge to keep me moving forward. This week I've challenged myself to write a lyric a day, or at least start a lyric, after reading a chapter in one of my favorite books, "The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions." This book has been a deep well for me over the years and I so appreciate where it takes my heart and mind every time I read from it.
A few years ago I was perusing it's pages and came across the chapter entitled "Jesus My Glory." That simple phrase ended up being the starting point for a song I wrote a few years ago with Lee Black. It has never been cut except by yours truly on my last album, which, funny enough, (shameless plug) you can download in my STORE. You can also listen to a little snippet of it - the link is on my ABOUT page.
Jesus My Glory
Lee Black / Gina Boe
Any blessing I have known
Wealth or earthly treasure
No reward could measure
To the joy of knowing you
When I’m shaken by the storm
Crying out for rescue
I will seek no refuge
Save the fortress of your name
Jesus my glory
Given to and for me
Surest hope and fiercest love
Worthy of adoring
Jesus my glory
For the cleansing of my heart
There’s no other fountain
But the mercy found in
Your redeeming, healing blood
Bound to you by matchless grace
Ties that none could sever
I will sing forever
This my song of endless praise
In his book, The War of Art, which is usually the first book I recommend to any aspiring writer, Steven Pressfield writes, "“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” This truth keeps me marching back into my writing room day after day, knowing that there is simply no substitute for sitting my butt in the chair and getting to work.
I have a list of song ideas, musical ideas, books, and other projects that I check regularly. It's a constant reminder that I have no excuse for ever thinking I have nothing to work on. The issue is more likely that I have moments when I don't feel creative. That's when perspiration must take the lead until inspiration kicks in. And like a faithful friend who shows up just when I need them, most days, inspiration shows up. Not every day, but most days. It seems like the more I write, the more I have to say. It isn't always poetic, brilliant, or worth sharing with the world, but it's something.
This past week included a couple of online co-writes, but mostly a whole lot of time hammering out a script. I am growing to love the characters and while I know where the story is headed, crafting the dialogue and watching the story unfold has been so stinkin' much fun. And hard. But good. Those are the best moments, honestly. Putting in the work, enjoying the process, and liking the results.
Seeing the calendar and knowing that June is half over makes me realize how quickly this Summer of Songs is going to fly by, and it makes me sad. Mid-August will come, I'll head back to work, and writing time will once again be limited. That will really make me sad. But for now, I will sit my butt back in the chair and get to work. At the end of day, I will choose to be grateful for this season. Tomorrow, I will get up and sit my butt back in the chair again and do the work.
Important things should know before reading this post:
1. My two teenage boys are gone for the week.
2. I am currently assisting my dog Gus in raising her 6 puppies.
You're gonna get this day in chunks - I'll try to be more specific next time, but you'll get the idea.
7:00 a.m. Woke up and thanked the Lord I actually had my first full night's sleep in three weeks because the puppies are now downstairs and are sleeping through the night, thus no nighttime feedings to monitor. Went down stairs and supervised first feeding of the day. Why must I supervise? Well, if you must know, it's mostly because there are six puppies and Gus only has 6...um....spigots, and occasionally a puppy tries to feed on a portion of Gus' belly where there is no...um....spigot, resulting in a big hickey.
7:30 a..m. Made coffee, the most important meal of the day; showered and put on minimum makeup so I wouldn't frighten any potential visitors; had a quiet time in the kitchen while sipping on the most important meal of the day; wandered the house doing mundane but necessary house-maintenance things for about an hour. Oh yeah, also ate oatmeal. The second most important meal of the day.
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Dove into my writing for the day; mostly worked on a book for a musical I'm writing; occasionally stopped to eat leftover tortilla chips and guac from Chipotle; at some point late-morning I also ate the leftover chicken/rice bowl from Chipotle; supervised second puppy feeding; frequently texted co-writers about random thoughts; watched a coupe of clips from the Tony Awards; throughout the morning I revised several documents and sent them back and forth to co-writers for proofing/editing/pondering; continued consuming the most important meal of the day.
12:00.- 4:00 p.m. A little more wandering around the house taking care of addition random house things I didn't notice during my morning wandering; more writing on the book, more document editing, more emails and texts with co-writers; checked writing appointments on the calendar; perused my song files; entertained some puppy-visitors; munched on graham crackers and canned frosting; supervised another puppy feeding; consumed more of the most important meal of the day.
4:00-6:00 p.m. Online workout video because I mostly sat all day and ate random things and I simply have to to maintain my sanity; went for a walk even though I just worked out because it was stormy outside and I like to walk in that kind of weather; refrained from consuming more of the most important meal of the day and chose water instead; continued texting and emailing co-writers; drank a protein shake and a leftover piece of frozen pizza my boys didn't eat before they left for show choir camp.
7:00-11:00 p.m. Supervised puppy feeding; Perry and I played with puppies in the living room; watched The Post, supervised another puppy feeding; crashed in bed, thankful for a day like this. .
My friend Lisa has been "my friend Lisa" for over 30 years now. I could write a blog a day for one hundred years to tell you about our shenanigans and such, but today's blog is not about that. Today's entry is about the phone conversation we had this morning. It went like this:
Lisa - Hey
Me - Hey, whatchya doin'?
Lisa - Packing.
Me - Wanna write a song?
Lisa - No.
Me - Why not?
Lisa - Because I'm packing.
Me - Wanna write a song while you're packing?
Lisa - No.
Me - Yeah you do.
Lisa - No, I don't.
Me - Let me read you what I have so far. (I proceed to read a partial verse and full chorus)
Lisa - That doesn't sound like a kids song.
Me - It isn't. Why did you think it was a kids song?
Lisa - I just thought you were calling to say, "Hey, wanna write? 'Cause I have to write a kids musical and I need help finishing the songs 'cause I have a deadline." Then I'd say, "When is it due?" And you'd say, "Yesterday." Then I'd say "How many songs?" And you'd say, "A few." Then I'd say "Really, when do you need them?" And you'd say, "Tomorrow. Actually tonight."
Me - I don't do that.
Lisa - Yes, you do.
Me - Yeah, I do. So you wanna write this one?
Lisa - Sure. Email me what you have.
Me - K. Bye.
And this is how countless conversations have gone over the years.