Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

12 October 2005

"My Buddy"

I'm not sure why this song touches me, but it does. It's a non-bouncy waltz about missing 'My Buddy', and I just learned it today. I think the text on its own didn't inspire me, but somehow with the melody: a poignant song that makes me sad, somehow.

I've been thinking a lot about the songs that I've written. I haven't written any lately, but I wrote a bunch of them (54) in a relatively short span of time (4 years total, most within a year) a while ago (about a decade). Not just thinking about these songs: they're in my head a lot, tuning along. I'm not singing them out loud, yet. I'm nervous. Taking these voice lessons has made me very conscious about my singing (and even my speaking voice). On one hand I can guess that if I wrote these songs, surely they're in my range, at least, and one would think that now I might be able to sing them even better. And if I enjoy them, if singing them gets me singing more, maybe even playing guitar again, that's all to the good.

On the ubiquitous other hand, as much as I really like some of these songs, the problem for the past 8 years or more is that they're very dated. They don't have a whole lot to do with my life anymore. Songs of longing, of lost loves, of searching for a home: here, still in love with my husband of seven years, in our home for six years, generally happy with my life, it's just not the best fit anymore. Do I even have enough angst these days to write new songs? What does one write about except angst-driven issues? Somehow other songwriters do manage to find other topics. I've even heard some great songs written by mothers, about being parents. Maybe I should listen to those again, because right now I'm finding it hard to think of a current parenting concern that could become a song ("I'll be sure to buy more Cookie Crisp tomorrow, darling!" "Sweetie, your hamster got out again!" "If that dog poops once more inside I'll going to scream!"). Maybe I need to step back a bit for a bigger picture.

On the still important third hand, maybe it's that I know there is still angst to be had. It's so easy to be distracted by the demands of breakfast and pet care, but I also think a lot about death, and sex, and intimacy, and vulnerability, and love. All classics of the angst scene, and surely all possible songs, many songs. When I was younger, and living deep in my own struggle it was usually no problem to take the time to dig deep and spew out my pain. Now, when the dishes and the laundry need to be done, I just don't have the time. And I'm better at taking care of myself these days, I don't have a burning need to continually dig out the blackness and loss and share it with everyone I meet. But I do have the ability to go there when it's necessary. I believe that growth requires me to face the dark, not to dwell in it, but to shed light on it when possible, accept it when necessary, break through in my understanding of what it is there and why.

So is it necessary? Necessary to write these songs? I want to write--but do I want to go to the place inside where I find the stuff I'd want to sing about? Maybe that could be a song in itself. It'd certainly be a place to start.


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