The nights lately have been wrapped in the insulation of rain. Not much sound comes through the gauze of water. These have been perfect nights for writing songs alone in cabins with bells and a toy piano…
This song was thru-composed, written from beginning to end like laying stone. Some of the lines I had to shape a bit, but the first few lines just came out full formed with the melody a few nights ago. The picture is the back wall of our tiny house.
I used to play by the train tracks when I was small and make rubbings on tracing paper of wood, pennies, and leaves. Now when I sketch, I still take the time to delight in the textures of things. They are the rubbings of childhood, traced sensations of the world around me. It is like kneading bread, the warm, living dough in our working hands. We touch on the surface of things and let them in with the rhythms of the pen and pencil on the skin of trees. Their skin becomes our skin. It is no wonder that so many of the young take so much joy in the inking of skin. We let the world in line by line, shade by shade, in the stories of our impressions. It becomes a part of us. We are willing to become the medium on which the living universe paints. We are willing to be vulnerable. As with any process, the sketching itself is more important than the material drawing that remains. It’s the participation in living that draws me, the absolute rapture that comes out of one’s consciousness during seeing and listening to something as if it were being born.
We create to live and we live to create. Everything is an act of creation: making your toast in the morning, making your lists for the day, the work that you do. What we call art only turns the light on, and we are made self-aware of this continual act of renewal of which we are a part in the world each and every day.
When I was a kid, I had a dream in which someone told me that if you write with your childhood pen, you will always be in love. I knew this didn’t mean something romantic. It meant a way of being alive in the world. I remember thinking, what were all these adults so afraid of that they couldn’t live the life they wanted? That they couldn’t make waves and be who they were with out being pounded down by society? It seemed so simple.
What if it is simple? Wouldn’t that be the scariest part? “To encourage” literally means to give someone back their heart. This is all I want to do with my life, with as many people as possible. It starts at home and from there spreads to the world. Where’s your childhood pen?