Us For Now (A Sort of Fairy Tale)

This was one of those weeks (Week 4 #songaweek2022) when I used the prompt (“we win”) and it actually helped me get started on the song (thus the whole first verse with soldiers and a battle).

Playing with the wording of classic fairy tale beginning and ending phrases (“once in a while upon a time” and “happily ever after it all”) led me to write the whole song with a fairy tale kind of feel to it.

The first line of the parting couplet came to me in the middle of the night and felt right for this song (“that moment between letting go and hitting the ground”).

One thought, after I had already posted the song – I would change the wording in the last chorus to “this isn’t a story for you to tell on your own.” I noticed that there’s interior rhyme in the other two choruses (“this isn’t a BATtle you HAVE to worry about” and “this isn’t a SEcret you NEED to keep to yourself”) – so I wanted it in the last one too (“this isn’t a STORy FOR you . . . “). Which interestingly enough was my first draft of that line anyway. Hats off to the subconscious!

Oh, also I went with this “comic mono” filter in iMovie to add to the fairy tale feel. Not always a fan of the comic filters but it felt right here.

Once in a while upon a time
Brave little soldiers stand in a line
Armed to the teeth, hearts in their throats
Earth’s firm enigma under their boots

This isn’t a battle you have to worry about
We’re all on the same side and we win

Small ones are sleeping deep in the woods
Tall trees are dreaming over their heads
Fungus is feeding on all we forgot
Water is reaching slowly through rock

This isn’t a secret you need to keep to yourself
We’re all on the outside looking in

Now is the moment, here is the place
True is the smile creasing my face
I’ve struggled and suffered and still I recall
Happily ever after it all

This isn’t a story that you must [for you to] tell on your own
We’re all here deciding how it ends

That moment between letting go and hitting the ground
That’s what we call life, that’s us for now

Somebody Loves You

The crooners sang “you’re nobody till somebody loves you,” and that can sound really quite heartless when you think about it.

But I’ve been thinking about other things lately, things that have influenced the writing of this song.

“Nothing stands alone” is this year’s topic for Richard Rohr’s daily meditations, which I read most days.

“We are all in this together. We are all in this alone,” sang Pierce Pettis in “Just Like Jim Brown.”

Every morning I roll out of bed and spend about 45 minutes doing exercises for a slightly arthritic knee, while listening to James Finley’s “Turning to the Mystics” podcast. Probably most of the reason I listen is for Finley’s voice and presence, and I know that things he’s said and ways he’s said them have contributed to this song.

The music came from a melody and chord progression I had rejected on my way to writing “Remember December.” I liked it enough to save the idea for future reference, and this week that musical idea and the #songaweek2022 weekly prompt (“standing in the doorway”) gave me enough to go on to pull this song together.

Frustrating technical difficulties with sharing this video here, but if you click on it you should be able to watch normally. It is more than a gray screen!

There must be something I could say to you
There must be something more that I could do
After all we’re all in this alone
Standing in the doorway leaving home

Somebody loves you

You’ve got the freedom and you’ve got the right
So go on and be the one to shine the light
After all we’re all a little scared
Standing at the bottom of the stairs

Somebody . . . loves you

And you’re not going anywhere without that love

After all we’re nothing on our own
Everything keeps breathing through our bones

Somebody . . . loves you

Go Boldly Into the Night

This song started because I have theological issues with that old song “I’ll Fly Away.” And then in the course of being written, it picked up an allusion to that Dylan Thomas poem you probably read in high school.

It’s my last song for #songaweek2021. I did miss one week (or was it two?) because I was on summer vacation and I’m proud of myself for being okay with that (as opposed to being okay with being proud of myself for that).

I’m gonna fly but I won’t fly away
I’ll keep soaring over every blessed thing
And when you feel the wind in your hair
Remember I carry you upon my wings

I’m gonna die but I won’t die away
I’ll keep singing over every precious thing
And when you feel the music inside
Don’t try to keep quiet, let the anthem ring

Go boldly into the night
Death only takes your life

Go boldly into the night
Death only takes your life

Time’s gonna come for every last one
Finally forever to let our selves go
And when we feel our last breath escape
We fall on the grace of all we do not know

Go boldly into the night
Death only takes your life

Don’t worry when good stories end
Love always comes again

Christmas ’21

Well it’s been a busy day of holiday preparations but I kept my priorities straight and recorded my song for this week 51 of #songaweek2021. If you look closely you can see the flour on my sleeve from the pie-making marathon I had just finished.

I dedicated this song to American health care workers and educators because I’ve been thinking of them often lately in these continuing difficult times of pandemic life.

May we each and all find at least a moment of peace this holiday season, and share some good will with one another.

Merry Christmas, it’s good to feel you near me in this dark and deep
Happy new year, let’s be the resolution that we want to keep

Sing for everything we’ve hoped and held
Make room for everything to be lived and felt

Season’s greetings, there’s got to be some joy for everyone to find
Happy holidays, we need to find some time that we can all unwind

Sing for everything we’ve hoped and held
Make room for everything to be lived and felt

Peace on earth, I still believe it’s possible to get along
Good will to you, the kind that sinks in deeper when you pass it on

Sing for everything we’ve hoped and held
Make room for everything to be lived and felt

What We’re Fighting For

This week’s song came together from so many influences. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:

Peace, please, peace.

Afghani woman on BBC Newshour, 13 August 2021

Won’t you knock down all the walls that we built stable? / Tip them over and restore them to sturdy dinner tables

Nate Crary, Messy Mass liturgy, “Only By Our Lonesome” song

“Once There Was” – a song and an album by Carrellee. It’s really only that phrase that influenced the line in my song, “once there never was.” Just playing with words.

“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” by Pete Seeger

Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .

Jesus, Matthew 5:3

You think you know all the right things to tell a fool like me
But I won’t hear you at all as long as this wall stands where a table should be

I am not so sure what we’re fighting for
Where have all the poor in spirit gone?

Once there never was all that we tell ourselves there was back then
Now is right where we are and right where we can begin to be again

I am not so sure what we’re fighting for
Where have all the poor in spirit gone?

“Peace, please, peace . . .”

We are stars and mud, spirit and spit fire and flood, brawn and brain
Ours are oceans unknown, deserts that patiently await the rain

I am not so sure what we’re fighting for
Where have all the poor in spirit gone?