Thursday, July 5, 2018

Sorrow is Better Than Laughter. WHAT???

I've always had a very serious side to me. In fact, my whole family is pretty serious. We think and feel very deeply. I also have a quirky side to me and the more freedom I experience in my life, the more that side is coming out. But obviously, the heaviness that I grew up with still shows up even when I write funny songs.

"Even the funny songs that you write still have a serious edge to them", came the words from my manager. I sighed inwardly (and probably outwardly too). I didn't notice that until he pointed it out. The critique session was so rough I wondered if I should keep writing music. "Absolutely", he said. "I just want to see you get better overall and that includes your songwriting."

As a songwriter, it's always been my aim to be the best writer I can be, which has meant allowing professional people to speak into my writing. It isn't always easy to hear a critique of what you wrote, even when it's given in love and intended to make you better. I'm thankful to have people around me who love me enough to be honest with me about my writing, so I took his words to heart and began doing all I could to learn more about writing better songs. 

Up until then, I had written mostly from inspiration only. I'd hear lyrics and a melody in my head and sit down at the piano to write. Now, I still write from inspiration, but I've also learned how to work hard at the craft and develop the seed of inspiration with the sweat of perspiration.Yet, no matter how hard I work at getting better, I'm afraid my serious side still shows up. 

So when I read the following passage this week from someone else's blog; Solomon—the wisest man who ever lived—I almost laughed out loud in light of the story I've been sharing the last couple of months in my blog. Perhaps this explains the underlying theme of death and heaviness that shows up in so many of my songs;

"Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. 
After all, everyone dies, 
so the living should take this to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter.
A wise person thinks a lot about death,
    while a fool thinks only about having a good time."

If sadness has a refining influence on us, than I should be as "fine" as gold. LOL! 

Yes, I see now that all of the sad stories in my family history put us ALL through the fire. 

A few weeks ago when I was reading a book on songwriting, the author (who is a hit songwriter) said "write what you know". That's exactly what I've been doing. I had an epiphany in that moment. I decided to embrace my history, my story and all the heaviness and sorrow that came with it. It's what I know and it's what I've written. I do have something to share and yes, it might have a certain slant to it, but that's who I am. 

That doesn't mean I won't keep trying to improve in my writing, but I realize that as Solomon said, sadness has a refining influence on us, so I've decided to accept my past and at the same time, keep moving forward. I know as I keep growing in wisdom and understanding (a prayer I pray often) it will be reflected in my voice, both on paper and audibly.

So with that, I will continue the next phase of the story of the death of Nathan in next week's post, but this time, you'll get to hear from my sister, Aspen, as she shares what the death of Nathan was like for her (when she was 7) and how it has impacted her life.

Until next week, I thought a picture of someone having a good cry might feel appropriate right about now.  ; )