Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tuning In

When I first started trying to write songs, nothing happened. I remember being twenty one years old, fresh from college, sitting at a desk in my parent's basement with my head in my hands, looking at a yellow legal pad - for hours. Unfortunately, songs didn't come and I crossed out much more than I ever wrote. Maybe I wrote one song in a year? The songs just didn't come.

Having such an overwhelming desire to express myself musically, this lack of progress was certainly the worst period of my development as a song writer. I considered myself a failure. Even though I was working as a musician, playing gigs in clubs as a solo guitarist covering other people's material, I was very unhappy as a musician. If you can't create, you stop growing. At least I did. And so I quit.

For the next seven years, I worked in the business world. I became a commercial carpet salesman and estimator. I learned a lot about business, lessons I use to this day, but happiness did not come with the financial rewards of working as a salesman. And then, when i was at my lowest moment, I met Beth. And I became inspired.

When Beth and I started writing, creating songs was a crafting process. We thought of an idea or found a book that we wanted to turn into a song. We labored over lyrics, added music that framed it and built performances around themes. For years, this worked well. And I felt that I had reached a point where as a writer, I could say that I was successful. But I wanted more. I knew that crafting songs, while a wonderful skill, was not the same as tapping into the internal and, I believe, spiritual muse. I knew enough about the writing process from interviews with fellow writers to know that journeying includes not only the craft but the channel in which the craft flows. Something inside of me said, "If this is so, then I must find it."

It took more than twelve years to find it. One day, I started writing a song called "Create Without Caution", a song that had as its subject matter my battle to create without concern about craft or what the song sounded like in the end. I was actively learning how to remove the filter that prevented me from truly expressing myself. The chords and the melody came and the lyrics flowed like wine from a jug. There was no anxiety, just a flow - a tapping in to that channel. I had finally found it.

Almost one year later, I can sit down anywhere and at anytime and find that channel. I know where it is and what it feels like in my body. I cannot describe how to get there for anyone else, except to say that one has to keep searching for what one wants. It's in us all. I believe it. One just has to find the frequency.

No comments: