Posts Tagged ‘creative process’

Be the love you wish to feel in the world.

I believe in the infinite power of love, and I also believe that I can’t just wait around for love to rise and save the world. Love will always rise again. And I can be one of many who give it legs. Even when it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning. Especially then.

Here’s my song for week 47 of #songaweek2016. Apologies for its very rough draftiness. I wanted to finish early this past week so I could enjoy my parents’ visit for Thanksgiving (which I did!).

When the ugly words of angry men come screaming on the wind
Love’s gonna rise again
When the comfortable complacent ones keep keeping quiet
love’s gonna rise again
when you can barely believe it, keep singing anyway
love’s got to rise again
when you can’t really feel it, keep hanging on anyway
love’s got to rise again

love’s gonna rise
love’s gonna rise
love’s got to rise again
love’s gonna rise
love’s gonna rise
love’s got to rise again

out of the mud, out of the ruins
out of the rotten remains
love’s gonna rise again

when you lay her down into the ground and feel your heart stop
love’s gonna rise again
when days are dark and nights are long and cold sets in
love’s gonna rise again
when you can’t see the point, get out of bed anyway
love’s got to rise again
when all seems lost, keep reaching out anyway
love’s got to rise again

love’s gonna rise
love’s gonna rise
love’s got to rise again
love’s gonna rise
love’s gonna rise
love’s got to rise again

love paints the world in vibrant colors and sings in many voices
love’s gonna rise again

love’s gonna rise
love’s gonna rise
love’s got to rise again
love’s gonna rise
love’s gonna rise
love’s got to rise again


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A little goofy, a little sparkly-dreamy, a lot of synth for week 35 of #songaweek2016:


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It’s been too long since Nathan sang along on one of my recordings. I won’t easily forget the night he recorded his vocals on this song, while I sat on the couch nearby, snuggled up with the dog and reading H.G. Wells. The process of creating these songs – not just the writing, but the recording and collaborative arranging – is something I simply love, a deeply fulfilling way to spend my time.

This song felt very hymn-like to me, and it’s week 22 of #songaweek2016, thus the title.

Rain falls on the righteous and wicked alike
’cause each of us is righteous and wicked
Sun shines in the daytime moon glows at night
each of us needs light and dark

Hallelujah, Amen

We’re born in a moment we cannot remember
we’re laid to rest in tombs of unknowing
we spring from folded bud through full-bodied summer
then fall asleep in winter’s deep embrace

Hallelujah, Amen

So play for us the songs you hear, paint the colors in your visions
write us the stories you find in the world
With broken brushes, bleeding pens and battered instruments
we’ll build a blaze and gather round for warmth

Hallelujah, Amen

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Some of us are just destined to do most of our work in the dark. We choose it – sort of – and it seems to choose us too. Not much spotlight, not much sunshine – but oh how we glow in our finest hours – alone in the studio at midnight, on a stage in front of five actively listening people, putting the finishing touches on a poem in the corner of a busy coffee shop.

My song for Week 19 of #songaweek2016 is dedicated to all the introverts, melancholics and not-so-go-getters who persist in loving this noisy, busy, sun-worshiping world through the deep, dark, luminescent art they faithfully create.


I’m the glow after the blaze

More subtle glance than open gaze

I’m understated

not overrated

i like my coffee black

i like a strong dark beer

and if you want to be sweet with me

be bittersweet


I’ve been singing in the shadows

From the day that I was made

I’m luminescent in the moonlight

but in the sunshine I just fade


Don’t cover me in kisses of pure joy

I cannot play along

mix them with tears

be salty sweet

My daydreams never hold a candle to

All the beauty I dream in the dark

Keep your sparkling diamonds

I’d rather have stars


I can’t tell you why I’m like this

It’s just always been this way

I’m luminescent in the moonlight

but in the sunshine I just fade

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Stars are glowing mysteries. Science and wonder collide in those incomprehensibly giant and mind-bogglingly ancient balls of fire that appear to little you and little me as tiny points of light.

They are countless. There are more stars than humans who have ever lived. A quick Google search tells me there are maybe “1 billion trillion” or “100 octillion” stars in the observable universe.

So it seems both fitting and misguided to me that we call people who have set themselves apart, people who dazzle us from dizzying heights, stars. If you can somehow distinguish yourself from the masses around you, maybe you too can rise and become a star.

Why are stars so remarkable when there are so very many of them, each shining its light out all through the universe? For all of human existence, we’ve been staring up at stars on clear nights, lost in wonder, drawn far beyond ourselves or deep within ourselves, like our parents and grandparents and distant ancestors long before us.

But you are remarkable too. And so am I. And our neighbors, and coworkers, and everybody who calls and tries to sell us something, and all the old people sitting in the assisted living place down the street. Every politician, every middle-schooler, every complaining customer and annoying coworker, every single life.

So be you, you bright star. Shine on.

And rest in peace, Prince.

The song I wrote for week 16 of #songaweek2016 has something to do with the above thoughts, but it’s still not all untangled for me. See what you can make of it:


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For week 14 of #songaweek2016, an extra challenge was thrown out to anyone who wanted to try it – use three particular words in the song. Those who wanted to participate sent a word of their choice to one person, who then wrote all those words on a sheet of paper, cut it up, put the words in a hat, and chose three at random. And the winning words were:


I wrote this song very much stream-of-consciousness with those three words in mind. Except the last verse, which was inspired by a motorcycle ride and a weekend road trip with my love. Who, by the way, came up with some pretty fine bass and guitar additions, as well as pulling together a tasty drum track from our Studio One software.

As always, there is lots of great listening for you at the songaweek2016 website, and you might especially enjoy hearing all the different songs that came out of the 3-word challenge in Week 14. I haven’t finished listening through the list yet but from what I can tell so far, challenge-accepters were Jen Bluhm, Phil Cowan, Anielle Reid, Deborah Kelly, and James Tristan Redding. So fun to hear the different directions people took it.

For all I know he’s in Valparaiso
kissing some other girl
for all he cares I could be standing there
it wouldn’t even faze him

That’s when the music comes to me
That’s how the music sets me free

Would you eat it with a fox in socks?
Take a brave new bite
Chase it down with moxy on the rocks
It’s a bold concoction

That’s when the music comes to you
That’s how the music feels brand new

Honey take me back to Loveland
on your motorcycle
With the Badlands in our mirrors
we’re alright for now

That’s when the music comes alive
That’s how the music feels inside



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I started running regularly seven years ago. A mile, a few times a week. I stayed with it, until I was doing a ten-mile run every week, and I considered a four- or five-mile run average, and a three-mile run a break.

Today, I still run regularly, and my average distance is three miles. Sometimes, I run a mile and a half, occasionally just a mile. And yesterday I ran four, and am thinking of ramping back up to longer distances again.

My running life ebbs and flows, and always will, because I am a confirmed amateur runner, with no professional ambitions.

In other words, I run because I love it. (“Amateur” comes from the Latin “amator,” meaning “lover.”)

These days, “amateur” is often used and felt as a negative word, and few of us want to be considered amateurs. If you are going to run, get yourself in training for a marathon – or at least a half – and get on with it. Fancy yourself a writer? Start a blog and begin your e-book, ramp up your social media image and build your e-mail newsletter list.

My eight-year-old son is a runner, but he’s not serious about it. He loves it so much that every day he takes off running, if not outside, back and forth on the sidewalk, then inside, back and forth in the living room. Back and forth and back and forth. And if I ask him to stop, he says, “I just can’t! I’ve got to run!”

My eleven-year-old daughter is a writer, and she too is not serious about it. She’s an amateur. She loves it. She has started several stories, and she regularly grabs her notebook and pen, curls up in a corner or if the weather is good, climbs up in the maple tree in the front yard, and writes.

Neither of my children are thinking about measurements or outcomes when they do these things they love. They just do them, no Nike needed.

As adults, we have this idea that if we want to start something, we need to take it seriously, and we need to excel at it. And there’s something to that. That’s part of growing up and making something of your life.

But after you’ve identified the things you want to take seriously, there should still be room to try something new, or do something for fun. And even with the life pursuits we are most focused and serious about, love and play still have their place.

I’d wager that the best professionals are still and always, at their core, amateurs in that field. Love of something drives us to work hard, learn and practice and fail and get up and do it again. Without that basic fuel of love energizing it, ambition can go corrupt in all sorts of ways.

Go amateur. Do something you love.

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