When I lost my mother on March 25, I fell into a state of numbness. As much as I tried to function in this fast-paced world, I couldn’t keep up. I fell further and further behind. I managed to do my job, to my job well, but I feel as though I failed at everything else. By the time I returned home each evening, I had nothing left. I was an empty shell.
When my father passed away unexpectedly on June 27, my strong emotional pillars collapsed, and I realized for the first time in my life what it feels like to be lost.
If it weren’t for the grace and mercy offered by members of my family and select friends, I think I would be stuck in neutral, totally unable to move. I’m an only child, and I always feared the day I would lose my parents. But that day comes to all of us.
I’ve learned the great toil grief takes on writing. Last year at this time I was on the fast track to learning how to get published. The future was bright. But I’ve been stopped in my tracks in a dark tunnel. I can’t see the light at end. Maybe it’s after the bend. Despite my love of and appreciation for my writing groups, I can’t participate. I have nothing to offer.
I’ve signed up for the writing conferences. Maybe I’ll serendipitously stumble on what I need.
So instead of writing fiction, I have picked up my guitar and have found a different type of outlet for creative expression—writing lyrics. I consider myself one of the privileged few who is on a first-name basis with a a couple of the very best, award-winning songwriters in Nashville. They have what it takes to pen a hit. I don’t. But That’s not my goal. Sure I know you need a catchy riff, a hook, plenty of imagery, a few metaphors thrown in, and God’s grace shining down on you to make a song-writing dream come true.
But all I really want is to tell the truth—to write what I’m feeling even if I don’t understand it. Even if it’s the worst song in the world. Even if my syllables are a bit off and it only has three chords.
Lately, I’ve been on a blues kick as you can probably tell from my earlier posts, so a lot of what I have written lately uses a blues-type progression. But what I write is inspired by life itself. Life is unfair. Our dreams are unfaithful. Our plans often fail. But there’s always the chance hope will prevail.
If I could write the ultimate song, I would write it for the people who have taken time to listen to me. I guess that’s what all writers want—a good listener. I guess that’s what all friends need, a good listener who really cares, who never lies, and who always understands.
If could share any tidbit of advice with a reader going through a difficult period, I would strongly suggest finding some outlet of expression. You can’t keep feelings bundled up forever.
What you write, what you paint, what you play doesn’t have to make sense to anybody else as long as what you express is the truth and you give yourself a chance to purge itself of whatever you’ve been holding back.