Today I am quoting one of my favorite song writers, David Wilcox.
From his album Big Horizon, That’s What the Lonely is For:
The depth of your dreams, the height of your wishes
The length of your vision to see, the hope of your heart
Is much bigger than this
For it’s made out of what might be
Now picture your hope, your heart’s desire –
As a castle that you must keepIn all of its splendor, it’s drafty with lonely
This heart is too hard to heat
When I get lonely ah, that’s only a sign
Some room is empty, and that room is there by design
If I feel hollow – that’s just my proof that there’s more
For me to follow – that’s what the lonely is for
But, you can seal up the pain, build walls in the hallways
Close off a small room to live in
But those walls will remain, and keep you there always
And you’ll never know why you were given…
why you were given the lonely
When I am in a slump, music can lift me up and pull me out. I have always been inspired by music and have sought relief from the challenges of life with music.
Did I grow up in a musical family?
Not exactly. My mother liked to sing and I grew up listening to her albums played on our stereo, on the turn table. …Barry Manilow, John Denver, Glenn Campbell, and Neil Diamond…to name a few…the ones that I remember most.
My mother sang in the church folk group and she took guitar lessons for a short period of time ( Right, mom?) but the guitar wound up in my sister’s hands who learned to play it as well as singing in the church folk group.
Childhood Singing and the Recessive Gene
I enjoyed singing as a child but in 7th or 8th grade I had a music teacher who graded us on if we could sing on key or not…and well, he embarrassed me in front of my entire class making the accusation that because I was Italian, I should be able to sing on key. Apparently, I inherited the recessive gene for singing pitch and so I got a lower grade and the humiliation of the announcement to my teen peers that I was not living up to my heritage.
Yet, I sing anyway…sort of…
I love to sing along to songs, but I rarely do so where I can be easily heard by others. I will sing in my back yard and created my own versions of songs. My children have never minding my singing. Well….as toddlers they loved me singing to them but my two older children no longer enjoy my made-up songs. My daughter rolls her eyes at me sometimes and my son who got the Italian gene , lets me know that I am off-key in his subtle or not so subtle way.
Early Introduction to Instruments
My parents encouraged us with music, allowing us to pick an instrument to play as part of the 4th grade program at the elementary school. The school provided a day to try out the instruments and I was allowed to choose which one I wanted to learn, just not the drums- too loud, or the saxophone- too expensive. I tried out the trumpet, the flute and the clarinet. I could actually play notes on the clarinet, and so being an efficient person, I choose the clarinet.
We lived in Bethel Park, a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA when I was in 4th grade and they had a great music program. It was cool to be in the band. I did well, although probably not as well as my older sister who seamed to excel at everything. And then just before the start of 7th grade, we moved to the land of football and basketball…maybe there were less Italians there…because their music program lagged in comparison and so I was playing much easier music than my previous school in a much smaller band. Before, it seamed all my friends were in band, and now I was a “bando” and could only make friends with other “bandos”.
My first purchase, a modern-day teenage necessity…
When I was 15 1/2, I got my first real job. After securing the necessary work papers required to work at the local restaurant where my sister and friend were working, I began my official working career as a bus-girl at Franklin’s Family Restaurant in Whitehall, Pa. My very first pay check, what was left of it after the government took their share, went to the purchase of a modern-day teenage necessity….a boom box, complete with cassette player and detachable speakers. Seriously, people, I don’t hide my age…this was 1985. I still had this radio until it died a few years ago. It was sad parting with it….wish I had kept it. Maybe I could have gutted it like my dad did with our old TV cabinet. I could have created an over-sized storage space for my MP3 player and my JVC “walkman” – it still works!
Real Stereo Sound and Real Music
Realize that this was a huge upgrade from the radio my parents had bought for me years before that had only one speaker, yes, lacking stereo sound…no wonder I had difficulty singing on pitch. As my now teenage son pointed out to me, now having only one speaker does not mean the lack of stereo sound but back in 1985, it did.
I was thrilled with my purchase and added to my cassette collection with the sounds of Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, The Pretenders, Yes and ZZ Top, to name a few of my purchases. I liked a variety. My love of classic rock would come later, in part from hearing my sisters albums and later my brothers “hair bands” like Poison and Def Leppord. And I still love this music. Thank you Wiz at 106.5 for Resurrection Sunday!
What does this have to do with David Wilcox’s lyrics?
A few minutes ago, I thought I had strayed off course with my post. Now, I see that the lonely place I have been in was a reflection of missing parts of my life, rooms that have been hidden or dusty. Sharing pieces of my past is a way for me to open these rooms in my castle. In order for others to learn more about me, and for me to confront myself and what is important to me.
I had no desire to write today….
I left my house today to escape- to get away- and be in a place for a few hours where I only had to worry about myself. I had no ambition to write but knew that I needed to get out because I have been in this place before and have been able to pull myself out of a slump by taking time for me.
And so, I have been here at my computer at my favorite food and wi-fi spot listening to ….”We Can Work It Out”, “Closer to Fine”, “This We Know”, “I Have a Dream”, “A Place in the World”, “Finally Found a Home”, “Galileo”, “Forever Young”, Let’s Get Real”, and “Give Peace a Chance”… a few of the songs on my Writing Inspiration Playlist.
Listening to this music has been part of my writing time ritual. Once again, it has achieved its purpose, refocusing my frame of mind.
Today, it has been a start
A start into digging deeper
Into my own loneliness
And discovering the meaning
That is missing in my life
I must remember that it begins with music….