knowing i’m going in the studio to record soon mostly makes me nervous as hell. i’ve been singing all my life – Mama said i was singing before i started talking, which doesn’t really mean much i guess, except that i love to do it. I had laryngitis once in high school and it wasn’t the inability to talk above a whisper that really got me, it was that i couldn’t sing. I never knew that i walked around singing all the time, till i couldn’t.
in college i started writing songs two weeks after i picked up the guitar. i was a girl possessed – i couldn’t put that old beat up, painted guitar down. the body of the guitar was so warped the strings were 3 inches off the neck by the sound hole – for any of you that don’t play guitar you should know that makes it mostly unplayable – but i hammered away anyway and learned a few chords – three to be precise. G C and D. what more do you need for folk rock? two weeks and three chords later came my first song. With You Lord. and of course it was about crying, and being alone and how as long as i had Jesus i was ok. it was my mantra back in those dark, wet college days. i don’t think i wrote a song that didn’t talk about crying until i …. i still write songs about crying. well how can i help it? you write what you know. so it went:
when i cry, am i alone? does this emptiness i feel have to go on?
I peer through stained glass windows and hollow logs to find
the answer i know not of….
— the something about my soul crying and my spirit sinking…
the rest of the verse evades me. it was 18 years ago. oh GAH, can we scream sleep deprived, wallowing in misery college student? but i had to write what i felt. and boy did i ever. i wrote and wrote and wrote. picking up the guitar broke open the dam inside and out gushed 22 years of misery, hope, pain, love and loneliness and with it the ever persistent belief that Jesus would save me – would save US. the second song i wrote was asking
Who can take away the hurting?
and Who can mend the scarred souls
who’ve reached out for the very last time….
i was in pain and i saw pain. it was overwhelming at times – not just to me, but everyone around me trying to live adjacent lives without getting sucked into the black hole with me. i wrote songs to try and process what i felt – now i call it journal songs. of course there was someone in the world that felt the same way, and could relate which is all i was after. i was after-all in college. the depressive, wallowing capital of the world. but i was after something more than wallowing. i was desperate to connect with someone, anyone who understood what i was saying and to throw a line out there to them that said – Yes, i am with you, you aren’t alone – which by proxy meant neither was I. I needed those songs and i needed to sit in the coffee shops and play them to whoever would listen. mostly i think i was trying to remind myself that no matter what it felt like, i wasn’t really alone because God was with me… but i couldn’t feel him through everything else that was so black. so i wrote songs. i was after connection.
in your darkest times, how do you reach out to connect? how do you process your pain and work through it? or do you process it at all?
here’s a journal song i captured on my iphone last year. i just hit record and started singing. sometimes that just what you gotta do. once again i reference tears – but it’s the hope of tears being turned into song.
my favorite line is –
these tears have dried on my pillow and i cannot stop wondering why you said all these beautiful things
and then waited so long to bring it to me.
i love that my son is clinking around in the background getting ice cream. life is good. 🙂