For the past several days, I’ve had a song stuck in my head:
It’s a damn cold night
I’m trying to figure out this life.
Take me by the hand,
take me somewhere new.
I don’t know who you are,
I’m with you.
I had listened to an old CD (a mix I had made many years ago), and out of that multitude of voices, this one stuck, and refused to go away. Have been engaged in writing a story, a big piece of my story, and somehow the song had worked its way inside and was coming to represent the writing itself.
In musical jargon, a song has a ‘hook’ line, a repeated phrase that represents the gist of the story inside of the song. That hook line, often works its way into the title of the song as well. The title of this song is I’m With You. Much the way that a good novel, pulls you in, right at the beginning and then works hard to keep you there, a hook line is meant to resonate and stay with you, in the hopes that you will 1., buy the record; and 2., remember the song and associate it with your own person, or experience.
Story is one of the oldest teaching tools of humankind. And each song has a bit of story within its lyrics. Story with a beat, a rhythm, will remain in memory far more easily because of that added measure of association.
After two days of hearing the song inside my head, finding myself unknowingly humming it in odd moments, having it whisper through my thoughts as I put my head on the pillow to sleep, I finally began to ask myself, “Okay, who is this someone you are with that you don’t know?” And before you start laughing, my only defense is that some of us are far slower on the uptake than others.
I began to mentally list all of the people in my life at the present moment. Nothing, no one, seemed to fit the bill. Then considered all of the characters in the story I was writing. There are a lot of them, even though there are only two main characters. That wasn’t getting me anywhere fast, either. It took a few days, several lists, and lots of singing, both in my head and out loud, but I finally realized the person I was with that I didn’t know was me.
The me that I was twenty years ago, the one that I was writing about. The one who had actually lived inside that story when it was taking place. The older me, the one who is writing the story, was taking that other me’s hand and walking her through those moments. At the same time, that much younger me, was taking this now me by the hand, and showing her how she had become the now person I am.
It was a very co-operative adventure, and I dare say, we were both enjoying it immensely. With twenty years of extra living, I was able to set aside so many of her fears and even some imaginary regrets. And because she could help me remember the details of the story itself, I was learning a great deal about how I have, and sometimes still do operate. Both of us could see the seeds that were planted back there, and then also know how well many of them had grown.
Music, especially song music, has long been a primary element in my life. It was a very necessary means of expressing my emotions, and also my own story. It played a major role in my becoming a writer, first a poet, then a prose writer. Some of that reality can be found on my poetry site at http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/
Once I firmly understood the who of the song, the other lyrics fell into place and made so much sense:
I’m standin’ on the bridge
I’m waitin’ in the dark
I thought that you’d be here by now
There’s nothing but the rain
No footsteps on the ground
I’m listening but there’s no sound
There hadn’t been any sound for many years. Not until I made it by writing in my journal. If you listen closely, the sound of pen moving across paper does sound a bit like the swish of rain as it falls on a dark cold night. I’d been on that bridge a long time, but now I could see her, coming clear and out of the darkness to greet me.
The bits and pieces, that I dropped like rain onto the pages of my journal, were the nurture we both needed to stay alive, so we could now come together, hold hands as we walk together into our future.
Not a bad outcome for a funny little song I had recorded on the spur of the moment a few years ago. What are the stories, bits and pieces of your own tale that you find in the music you listen to? Do they come back, long afterward and still hook you? What are they really about? Have you taken the time to make note of them?