Please, settle in for second, gentle readers. Rest your bones for a moment. I want to tell you a story. This is the story of a girl, “who cried a river and drown the whole world.” (from Absolutely by Nine Days). Sorry. My brain OFTEN slips into song lyrics without my intending it to do so. That’s a big part of my story, see, song lyrics have been like a life preserver for me, ever since I can remember. One of my earliest memories is listening to my first LP (that’s a vinyl extended play record, for you Millennials), one by The Monkees, and completely dissociating from the pain of my world by fixating on every word of every song. At the tender age of five, all I knew is that the sweet sound of Davy Jones’ voice (the lead singer) made me feel happy, and I wanted to know him in some way, shape, or form. I wasn’t old enough to understand “crushes” or romantic love, of course. I just knew that this person (whom, I mistakenly assumed, wrote those words) was someone I felt I cared about. “Cheer up, sleepy Jean. Oh what can it mean to a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?” Those words were, in fact, actually written by Neil Diamond, not Davy Jones, and, what’s more, I didn’t really understand most of them. Still, I found comfort in hearing, “Cheer up, sleepy Jean.” I often felt so inconsolably sad in my childhood (yes, even as young as five), for reasons I might expound upon sometime in future posts, but hearing Davy Jones made me feel better for a while.
People who know me well can attest to the fact that I have an encyclopedic knowledge of song lyrics from many genres and over many decades. Hey, everybody’s got his or her thing. That’s mine. My husband has the craziest ability to recall even the smallest detail of football uniforms stretching back to the dawn of the form of the modern sport. It is song lyrics that led to my love of language and, in turn, my love of writing and the written word. What can I say? I’m certain I was born to it. I went to my first writer’s conference last fall. That’s where it became clear to me. I felt like I’d finally found my place in this world. Writers, songwriters, and lyricists – they are my tribe, my people. Incidentally, when I was typing, “my place in this world,” the lyrics of Christian artist Michael W. Smith’s song My Place in this World immediately leapt to mind. Sigh! See, I can’t even control it half the time. People! I’m not joking when I say that this affliction is all-consuming. I even named my first-born child after a song – Hall & Oates’ Sara Smile!
From my earliest experiences with pain and trauma right up until the present time, I’m certain I couldn’t have survived without the lyrical tapestries lovingly sown and then bestowed upon the world by songwriters, poets, and lyricists everywhere. I’ll never forget hearing Chris Martin’s lyrics from Fix You, immediately after my daughter died, “The tears come streaming down your face, when you lose something that you can’t replace. When you love someone, but it goes to waste, could it be worse?” Those lyrics seemed like everything I was feeling distilled into a few simple but powerful words. Even typing them now has me feeling tearful. I know, I know, I know. Eeew! Coldplay? Yeah, I get A LOT of shit for loving Coldplay, but I WON’T apologize. I don’t know what it is about their music. I really don’t. For some reason it turns me into an over-emotional teenage girl, singing along to their songs at the top of my lungs in my car while sobbing violently. So, of course, no matter what the weather is, I have to wear my sunglasses when that’s happening, because I am a really UGLY crier. So, if you see me driving on US 131 with my sunglasses on in mid-February, just keep going, please, and pretend that you didn’t see my Coldplay-lovin’ fool-ass. Okay?