It is the writer's privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.
Some days I care. Some days I don't. Some days I try my hardest to work within the confines of the system. Some days I think the system is the enemy and I pick up my rebel pen and write what will likely never be heard. Some days I embrace my place in the world and some days I am so green with envy I could play Elphaba without an ounce of makeup. Some days I thank God He made me a writer. Other days I curse the journey.
I've made a very bad living (okay, a decent part time job) out of writing things people want to hear. Songs I truly believe people need to hear. And I am genuinely grateful for that. I just don't think people want to hear that stuff all the time. I think there are days people want someone to enter into their sadness or frustration or pain and express it in ways they don't know how to on their own. I don't want to live, or write, every second in that world, but I can't deny the therapeutic value of getting those thoughts out of my system in the hope I am not alone.
I haven't found a place in the world for those songs. Maybe there isn't one. Maybe it's just here. I really don't know. I only know that when I hit "post" on this blog a small weight will be off my shoulders. I have wrestled with whether or not that's okay and I guess the fact you're now reading this means I decided it is. So, here you go.
I wish I was always an overflowing fount of positivity and grace and joy. I pray for the day I will be. Today, however, you get to see this - the ongoing struggle with my humanity. For better or worse, this is how I feel today. Just a mess of a work in progress who is longing for better days.
The Ghost of Us
I walked out and closed the door
Don’t go back there anymore
But now and then I hear a sound
And I can’t help but turn around
Take a breath and drop your guard
Start to think you’ve come so far
Step by step into the light
But shadows don’t give up the fight
Most of us are living with the ghost of us
And hope no one will notice us
Dancing in the dark
Could it be the war with this humanity
Is just the way it has to be
As long as we have scars
Yesterday is gravity
The pull that leaves us questioning
If we can trust the promises
That it won’t always feel like this
Tell me it won’t always feel like this
The break, the bleed
The want, the need
The proof that we
Are not where we are meant to be
I get it. They can seem pretty self-indulgent. Annoying. Boastful. All those posts from writers, artists, and creatives of all kinds, letting you know about their latest project or accomplishment. You've seen them. And some of them have likely rubbed you the wrong way. Sometimes they rub me the wrong way and I even post them myself now and then! But here's what you need to know about the people who write those posts. We have to. And here are the reasons why.
First, creatives are compelled to complete their work and our work isn't complete until it is shared with the world. A song isn't finished until it is heard. A painting isn't finished until it is put on display for others to see. A house isn't finished until it is lived in. For the creator of those works, it is as if they haven't gotten "paid" for their time and effort until someone else experiences what they have made. And sometimes, the recipient's experience with their work is the only currency the creative will ever receive.
Second, for those creatives whose work is a part of their livelihood, it is a necessity for them to do their part in marketing themselves. Just as a small business owner places social media or radio ads to let the world know they exist, a creative must let the world know they are "open for business" as well. Realtors plaster their faces on billboards. Restaurants put coupons in mailboxes. The general public seems to be okay with all that. We might complain about the sheer volume of ads placed by a software company or plumber or bank, but we don't necessarily see it as arrogance. People are just trying to make a living, right? They can tell us about how their business was rated #1 in the region or post quotes from satisfied customers and we're okay with it. But when an artist tells you about their latest success, we often think they are tooting their own horn. I would argue that most of the time, that is not the case.
Most artists I know are uncomfortable with the whole self-promotion thing. It's awkward. It just feels wrong. Also, our work is so personal and vulnerable, we can be terrified at the mere possibility someone won't appreciate what we've created. And most of the artists I know are incredibly humble people who are also scared to death someone might think them otherwise. So they drum up the courage to tell you what they've done, knowing full well they will be misunderstood. And they risk it anyway.
Lastly, (I hesitate to write this because even I have a tough time always understanding it, let alone trying to explain it) there is such a thing as calling. Creatives believe, deep in their core, they have been called to create for the betterment of the world around them. They have an answer to someone's problem. A salve for someone's wound. A resource for someone in need. If you aren't the person with the problem, wound or need, you might not understand it either. But you will, someday. Because at some point, you will find yourself longing for something you haven't yet been able to find. You might look for it in all the places you usually look for answers, salves, and resources, but you won't find it. And then, you'll see a painting. Or hear a song. You'll sit down to an exquisite meal. Watch a play. Maybe even read a blog. And suddenly, you will feel different. Enthralled. Encouraged. Satisfied. Entertained. Moved. And when you feel those things, we creatives will feel the same. Because that is when we feel like we've truly done our part.
So go easy on those people who tell you about their latest "thing." They are simply trying to make their way in the world, one creative work at a time. And in doing so, they just might have something you've been searching for. So give them a look, a listen, a taste. Experience what they have created. I think you'll be glad you did.
The Music Business. Otherwise Known as the Land of the Unfair and the Unexpected. Otherwise Known as God's Playground.
You've probably heard the phrase, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." I've modified that a bit to create a songwriter's version: "If you want to make God laugh, write a song, tell Him exactly who should record it, when and where that should happen, how successful it should be, and then tell Him you'd like to receive a nice financial reward for your efforts.." Oh yes, I've made God laugh plenty of times.
My early writing career was all about writing songs to sing myself. But for much of the past 20 years, I've been writing songs for the purpose of pitching them to other artists for their records, musicals, sheet music, etc. I love the challenge of coming alongside someone else to help them communicate what they want to say. But challenging isn't the only word I'd use to describe the world of being a professional songwriter. I would also say it's frustrating, exhilarating, miserable, magical, and so much more. If you're in it for the long haul, let me tell you, it is not for the faint of heart.
A few years ago, 2014 to be exact, I wrote a song with one of my regular co-writing friends, Lee Black. We were targeting a certain country group who was about to start looking for songs for their next record. We finished the song, Lee made a demo and we were certain it was perfect for the group we had in mind. Probably a hit. Probably their next number one song. Remember that whole God-laughing thing? Yeah.
If memory serves, we sent it off to a few of the powers that be. No response. That isn't unusual. If I had a dollar for every time I heard crickets after pitching a song, I could buy my own island. Those crickets can wreak havoc on your confidence as a writer. And it isn't just the crickets that make you feel less than. It's everything from no communication, to the politics that come into play, to the injustices regarding royalties, and more. It's brutal, in a first-world-problem sort of way. I'm aware that this is just the music business we're talking. I'm not walking ten miles a day to get water for my family. So yes, I do have perspective. Still, it makes me grumpy sometimes.
So the song we'd written sat for about a year and a half. I had another writing appointment scheduled with Lee and my friend, Riley Friesen. We threw around some ideas, which included going through old songs to see if we could recycle one that hadn't found a home yet. We came across the song we'd written in that earlier session and discussed our options. The style really didn't fit what Riley is into, so at some point one of us said, "What if we go a completely different direction musically?" In the next hour, what was an uptempo, country song, became an inspirational pop ballad. And we loved it. Again, we discussed pitching options, but I honestly can't remember the who/what/when of all that. I just know the song remained uncut. That was 2016.
Fast forward to last summer. The high school music teacher I work with was looking for songs to fit the theme of a show choir show he had in mind. He called and asked if I had any ideas. I started scrolling through my iTunes library, hoping something might hit me. The theme was to be about a journey of some kind so I was looking for uplifting songs about travel, destination, adventure, etc. Let me just say here, that when perusing my library, I intentionally didn't look through songs I've written myself. As hard as I try to get my songs placed with artists or publishers, I work equally hard at not forcing my songs to be used because of my role at school or my church. If I ever suggest a song for those purposes, it's because I honestly think it's the best fit, and even then, I feel a little reluctant to do so.
So, while looking for songs, my mind kept coming back to the song I'd written with Lee and Riley. I finally sent it off to the director with a plea for him to feel absolutely no obligation to use it. Long story short, it made the show. I smiled inside, thinking about our list of original pitch ideas for the song and how a high school show choir was nowhere on that list. God was giggling. Over the past few months as I've heard the kids I work with learn the song and make it their own, I have been moved to tears more than once. Partly because they sound amazing, but mostly because the message of the song is one I believe in and it feels incredibly appropriate for so many of the students who are singing it and the audiences they sing it to.
Just last week, I heard the show choir sing it for an auditorium full of kids. Again, so many emotions. I went home that day with a full heart. When I got home, I found I'd received an email that afternoon from Riley. He is not only a songwriter, but also an incredible producer who works with a variety of artists. A few weeks earlier he'd let me know that the same song was being recorded by a trio he was working with. I thought, "Well, that's cool timing," and didn't think much more about it. This time, he was emailing me to let me know the song was about to get major airplay in South Africa. What?! Wait a minute. So this song, which could find no life in the places we thought it would thrive, was now being sung by high school students in the middle of a cornfield in Nebraska, and by a trio of grown men, one a Super Bowl winner, one a multi-platinum selling artist from South Africa, and one a Grammy-nominated artist from Canada. Excuse me? God was full-on belly laughing now.
For the record, I've never been to South Africa and I have no idea what "major airplay" means there but I really don't care. I'm still shaking my head over the fact that I, once again, have no explanation for what has happened with our little song creation. All I can say, is in a business that will likely befuddle me 'til the day I die, God chooses to do His thing exactly as He sees fit. And it rarely looks like what I expect. The truth is, I'd rather hear 54 high school students in 68th Street Singers, singing Even A Long Road to an auditorium of fellow students and their parents, over some hot shot country group at the top of the charts. And somewhere in another part of the world, three men in a group called reBORN are encouraging people to not give up, no matter how hard things might get. That's just cool. And I imagine Someone laughing. And it makes me laugh too.
Even a Long Road
Lee Black / Gina Boe / Riley Friesen
Recorded by reBORN
Video of 68th St. Singers coming soon.
Feels like a hurricane
Like the wind that won’t stop blowin’
Oh and it’s pourin’ rain
While you’re gettin’ where you’re goin’
It’s hard to put one foot in front of the other
Each day feels a little tougher
But you keep on, yeah you keep on
It’s a long road baby, it’s gonna twist and bend
When you think it’s over it turns and turns again
Keep goin, keep walkin’
You might even have to crawl it
Can’t tell you where or when
But even a long road, even a long road
You might not see it now
But that’s a mountain there you’re climbin’
And someday lookin’ down
When you see all that’s behind you
I bet you say it was worth the trouble
The blood, the sweat, the tears, the struggle
So you keep on, yeah you keep on
Even the strongest heart
Even the bravest soul
Can feel like giving up
Can feel like letting go
Even the strongest heart
Even the bravest soul
Can feel like giving up
All I can say is....don’t
.I finished something last night. Yes, I know, we all finished 2018. But last night around 8:00 p.m. I also put the last period on a project I've been working on for over a year. Actually the idea has been stirring for much longer. I recently found a journal entry from January 10, 2017 which listed this particular project as a goal for that year. Okay, so it took a little longer than I hoped, but it's done. I enlisted the help of two friends and it turned into something I am fiercely proud of. There will undoubtedly be revisions to make, and I'm hoping this work will find an audience that will embrace and enjoy it. Celebrating that will come another day. Today, I celebrate finishing this part of the journey.
I am not a great finisher. It's something I know well about myself and really don't like. When I turned 50 a couple years ago, that became one of my life goals. To become a better finisher. I think my fellow creatives will agree that when you are a person whose brain is often a stampede of new ideas, it can be tough to wrangle one to the ground, tame it, then train it to be something worthy of sharing. When you do, it's a feeling like none other.. I just know I don't get to that point near as often as I'd like.
Over the years, the importance of finishing well has been one of the things I've consistently preached to my kids. What they probably don't realize though, is how with every time I've hammered home that message to them, I've really just been trying to convince myself of the very same thing. Because I know how hard it is. The battle to fight excuses, resistance, disappointment, negativity, physical and emotional exhaustion, and discouragement from others, is one that really doesn't seem worth fighting some days. Isn't it easier to cave and move on to something that seems more exciting and invigorating? The answer to that question is yes. It is easier. For a while. Then one day you're confronted with all the hard things you faced the last time. And again you must decide: press on and finish well or quit.
I've seen this play out in various ways with each one of my kids. One of the best things to ever happen to three of the four has been the experience of playing on a losing sports team when they were younger. Losing, as in they did not win a game the ENTIRE SEASON. After every game, we'd have the obligatory conversation about how sports is about more than winning. It's about the relationships. It's about learning how to be coachable. It's about growing as an athlete over the long haul. And it's about the absolute most important thing regarding youth sports - the post-game snack. As parents, we kept a brave face. We desperately tried to keep our kids engaged and enthusiastic, even while having conversations in our own heads that went something like, "This just sucks. How long is this season? Good grief, we're terrible." I can admit it. I hated those experiences. We all laugh about those seasons now, but it was not fun. I'd like to be able to tell you all the positives that came out of it, but really, the main thing they learned, we all learned, was to just push through it as best you can and finish. And finishing well doesn't always mean finishing in a manner others recognize as successful.
Lest you think I have a "you will complete this at all costs" mentality, trust me I don't. I understand the only way to finish some things is to abandon them. Several years ago, I resigned from a job I still don't feel like I finished well. I had stayed too long and nearing the end of my employment, every day felt like banging my head against a brick wall. Every. Single. Day. It was brutal and would take years to recover from. In the end, all I knew to do was abandon my position. The cost of staying had become too great. So, it was time to leave with things undone. Quit. There was no period at the end. No celebratory sense of accomplishment. My only hope in leaving was that I would go with some relationships still in tact. Some were and some weren't. Through that experience I learned there are some things you can only finish by moving on. In those moments, you can only hope a day will come when you'll be able to put a period at the end of it. Somehow.
2019 will bring some unavoidable finishes as every year does. For our family, it's another high school graduation. And for the next few months I'll be encouraging H#3 to finish well. And every time I do, I'll hear that same voice in my head telling me to do the same thing. Finish mothering another high school student. Finish another song. Finish that other project that's been on my to-do list since 2017. And when I do, I will celebrate. Just like I'm celebrating the fact this blog is now finished.
Happy New Year, all. Now go finish something.
Pardon my emotion...it's a big weekend.
The trouble with sons is they trick you. From the day they are born, they mess with your heart and you don’t see it coming. Not at three days old. Not at age four. Not at 18 or even 25. You think you’ve got a handle on mothering a boy, and then they do something else that knocks you to your knees and takes your breath away. You celebrate them and grieve them all in one small, life-changing moment. Then another. And another.
It starts in the hospital when the nurse brings them to you in the middle of the night and says, “He’s pretty fussy. I think he needs his mama.” It finally hits you that you are their person. Entrusted with their very life, you feel the joy and weight of what it means to raise a son. As much as you hate the all-nighters rocking and begging them to go to sleep, you also take great pride in the fact that it’s you they want. The trouble is, a few weeks down the road they prove to you they can do the whole sleep-8-hours just fine and they don’t need rocking anymore. You’re grateful. But you miss those dark, quiet hours just the same. It’s the first trick. Their independence is slowly and sneakily revealing itself.
A few months go by and that chubby hand grips your little finger so tightly that he fools you into thinking he’ll never let go. And then he does. And he walks. But he also falls and looks up at you with sweet, tear-filled eyes that make you believe you’re the only one capable of picking him back up and encouraging him to try again. So you do. Then a day comes when he takes off running and doesn’t look back. Even when he falls, his “I-can-do-it” spirit takes over and he leaves you in his dust. Darn it. You thought he needed you more. But you cheer him on. And you cry.
Year after year, the milestones come and go, and inevitably you feel duped. People warn you, but you still don’t recognize the sleight-of-hand at the piano recitals, little league games, high school proms, graduations, or their first apartments. It really is magic, watching them unveil their newest trick, and yet sometimes you’re left feeling like the woman sawn in two. Except you never get put back together.
Little by little, those tricksters learn to bear the weight of their own life. You pray it’s because you laid some kind of foundation for that to happen, but you can’t be sure because sons don’t always tell you that’s part of the reason. Oh, but when they do, when they say “thank you” or “love you, Mom”, suddenly every little conniving thing they’ve ever done is forgiven.
Big trouble comes when you hear the words, “I have a date.” It’s too much. You fight to stay calm, hoping this is just an illusion. There’s no way snips, snails and puppy dog tails have turned into mini-golf, movies and goodnight kisses. Then you meet her. And you genuinely like her. And you know why he loves her. Why he wants to marry her. And you love her too. She is the answer to prayers you’ve prayed since before he was born, but she is now part of the trick too. He has enlisted help in his mischievous ways and you think it might just put you over the edge. So you resign yourself to hoping that one day they’ll experience the kind of trouble you’ve faced and that lifts your spirits, because, well, “Grandma” sounds pretty good.
The truth is, mothering a son has given some you of the greatest joy you will ever know. And while some of their growing-up tricks may have stung a bit, with every trick they’ve played on you, you’ve come to love them more. No, that little, baby-blue bundle they placed in your arms didn’t stay little. And that’s the real trouble with sons. They grow up.
We cradle our boys, then we steady them, and then we cheer them on. We celebrate the adventures and grieve the losses, sometimes both in a single moment. Along the way, we might have to bear the brunt of life’s cruelest tricks, but without question I’ve never been happier to play the fool.
Four years ago, I was preparing to embark on a new adventure. This particular adventure would take a huge investment of resources of every kind. Going in, I knew the risk of failure was pretty high, at least by most people's definition of failure when it comes to running a business. But my definition of success and failure have usually been a little different than other people's and I'm okay with that.
Many moons ago, when my husband and I came off the road after traveling full time for three years doing music all across the country, as well as working trips to Mexico, Canada, and Italy, a friend approached me and said, "Gosh, aren't you disappointed? Things didn't really turn out like you planned." I suppose it may have seemed that way to her and quite possibly a lot of others. In those three years, I didn't become famous. I didn't make a lot of money. And I didn't set myself on a path to continue traveling and singing as a career. But that really wasn't the plan. At least that wasn't the HEART of the plan. The heart of the plan was to write, record, sing, and have an impact on others, whatever that might look like. At the end of those three years, I'd say things went exactly like the heart of the plan. And then it was time to move on.
Back to the adventure from four years ago...
The plan was to have a place, a space, where people could hold events of various kinds and where I could host events for my own creative endeavors. There were additional components to the plan involving other parties, but that was the basic idea. That was the plan. The HEART of the plan was much more. The heart of the plan was community. And to serve as both the symbolic and functional centerpiece of the plan, I wanted a table. A big table. A big, industrial-style table. I drew up some sketches and asked a friend who was just starting a business if he would build it. He did. It was perfect.
Over the next three years, that table would seat men and women conducting business, moms who needed encouragement, and wedding parties. It would hold food from various cultures, the sacraments from different religions, scripts and lyric sheets, the photos of a loved one who recently passed, and the records of achievement from many high school graduates. It served its purpose well during the three years that table sat in its designated place.
These days, the table doesn't sit in an 8,000 square foot building; it sits in the middle of my dining room. When we closed our business last December, the one thing I was determined to keep was that table. Partly because I love it. But mostly because it is still the functional and symbolic centerpiece of what I want my life to be about. Since being in our home, it has been the gathering spot for hungry teens, extended family we rarely see, and both happy and hurting friends. Most often, it is surrounded by the people I hold dearest in this world. The plan for the table may have changed, but the table is still the heart of the plan.
I have tried pretty hard over the years to teach my kids that people matter. They matter more than possessions and position. They matter more than religious or political differences. People matter more than songs, and business, and activity. And they certainly matter more than their mistakes. Over the course of my days on this earth, I may or may not be able to provide much to those I meet in the way of financial gain or privileged opportunity. I might not have great wisdom or vast knowledge to share. But I hope and pray I will always be able to offer a seat at the table, because something special happens there. Stomachs get filled. Voices are heard. Walls come down. Spirits are lifted. It is a beautiful, graceful thing.
I have no idea where this table will be sitting five or twenty or fifty years from now. I hope it holds up over the years. I hope many, many people find something they need as they gather around it. And when I'm long gone, I hope someone else will still see it as more than just a table. Because it really is so much more. It is the heart of the plan. And the heart of the plan is always bigger than the plan itself.
1. Too busy to write? Do it anyway. You obviously have things to write about if you're that busy.
2. Can't get someone to work with you? Make them wish they had.
3. Discouraged about your lack of "success" as a writer? First, carefully examine your definition of success. Second, encourage someone else in their own writing because your journey probably isn't about you anyway.
4. The process of writing really is the best part. That, and the relationships you build with other writers. If you don't love those two things, I'm not sure anything else could make the long days, the longer nights, the rejection, and the incredibly hard work worth it.
5. The writing room is always a more productive place with mood lighting, hot coffee, and a dog laying peacefully at your feet.
Once again, summer has flown by. This week brings a new season for me as I will be working a few more hours at my kids' school this year as an accompanist and music mentor, with a few sub dates thrown in here and there. Should be fun!
I am grateful for the daily opportunity to connect with kids and be a part of a wonderful vocal music program that has influenced my own family in countless ways. And yet, entering a new season means leaving one behind and this week I will close the door on another "Summer of Songs". I had intended to keep you more informed of how things were going, but truth be told, my writing time was limited and there were many days I had to choose between blogging about songwriting and actually writing a song. And since I didn't set out to have a "Summer of Blogs", it really was an easy choice as far as where to put my energy. The songs couldn't wait.
My summer also included 9 weeks of raising puppies and getting them settled in their new homes. Our adorable litter of Goldendoodles filled up many hours of my time and while it was a huge commitment, it also kept me home a lot which is my favorite place to be. So it's all good. I also returned to my job in and out of cornfields this summer with a detasseling company. This job entails early mornings, muddy commutes, a house that smells like corn for 4 weeks, working with great kids and a wonderful boss. Again....grateful.
So, did I write much? Yes. I finished up a new kids musical which, for reasons I will detail another time, was a new kind of challenge for me. I'm just beginning another kids musical which is being tracked in October so it's time to hit the ground running on that one. I continued to work on a new book which I hoped would release this fall but now I'm shooting for January. I used to beat myself up over delays like this, but I've learned to be okay with the process and timing of it all. I had some wonderful online co-writes with old friends and trusted co-writers. Just last week I wrote a Christmas song here at my house with an amazing artist who will be releasing a new Christmas project very soon - can't wait for you to hear it! I made a quick trip to Nashville with my girls (daughter Hannah and soon-to-be-daughter-in-law Kelsey) and squeezed in a writing appointment while I was there.
I have spent quite a bit of time this summer working on a project I can't tell you much about. I honestly don't like the whole teaser, secret-keeping thing when it comes to this stuff and I wish I could tell you more about it, but I just can't yet. Suffice it to say the writing has been life-giving to my songwriter's soul and I am loving the journey. The work is different than anything I've ever done and it has challenged me greatly. In many ways, it feels like the most sacred work I have ever done. I cannot wait for the day we get to unleash it to the world. I have no idea what that will look like at this point, but I believe with my whole being it will happen.
Honestly alert: Even with all the amazing opportunities to write, I continue to wrestle with knowing my place in the music industry. I work in it and for it, but many days feel like I don't belong; like an outsider who occasionally works inside the circle, but isn't invited to the party. I'm a hired hand but only the family gets to celebrate the harvest. It's not bad, it's just interesting. I swear I'm NOT complaining. As you read over and over again in my blog entries, I am beyond grateful for the work I get to do. And I am confident that I am the writer I am because I live where I live and do life the way I do it. I know I have opportunities come my way that wouldn't if I lived elsewhere. But like any profession, there are perks, obstacles, and unique challenges that come with the way I've chosen to work as a songwriter. Hopefully, I'm getting better at being content in all circumstances. God knows we've had enough conversations about it over the years.
So, what does the next season look like? Without question, I will be writing. As I mentioned, there are many projects that need my attention and I pray for more opportunities to show up. I will be watching for them as I walk through my days at school and at home. And as often as I can, I will give you a glimpse of the journey. Stay tuned...
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.