Ugh. What a heart-wrenching time it’s been. Yes, I’m talking about Charlottesville and the aftermath.
Often, at times like this, I’m drawn to my guitar, pulled by my hook book to sit down and write. Writing songs is one of the ways I process the baffling world around me.
But sometimes, songs won’t come. My heart is broken, my tears are flowing, but the creative way is blocked with too much emotion. During crises, we might here the common saying, “there are no words,” and there really aren’t.
Now is one of those times. Wise voices inside me know this blockage will subside. In the meantime, however, I’m stuck, pressed down, suffocating with no way to get it all out. When songs won’t come, it’s like parasites have taken hold of my insides. I am hijacked.
What does a songwriter do in times like this? I take a break. I take in nature. I visit with friends. I just let it go. Much as I wish I could write the perfect song that would transcend the chaos, there’s no forcing it, so I go with the flow, or lack of it.
I also just enjoy singing, not in preparation for a performance or recording, but just for the joy, the release. I love my songs! Like relaxing with old friends, they make me smile.
And I sing power songs. Rousing gospel, raging protest songs, songs with roots and stories. Songs make me feel connected to the movement.
As a decent human being, I’ve also reached out to some of my friends who might be particularly affected by the hate language and violence we’re witnessing. Friends of color, friends who are Jewish, friends who have been fighting for justice for so many painful years.
As tempting as it is to use my privilege to refuse the news and hide away from it all, as a woke woman, it’s my responsibility to be present to reality. As my dear friend, Rev. Ruth Rinehart, reminded me: we are charged with remaining hopeful.
Hopeful. Eyes on the prize. Trusting the process that I’ll eventually be unstuck and writing again. Until then, if the songs won’t come, I ain’t gonna force it.
How are you handling today’s events?
On the front lines? Reaching out to your community? Numb?
Are you singing?
Comment and share.