My John Lennon

7 Apr

I don’t have a song to post tonight for my 30-day COVID-19 creativity challenge. I was working on a song. A couple, actually. Writing lines, scratching them out, this chord progression, that one, any old thing. And then I took a break to watch a documentary about Garth Brooks (because one of the lines that came to me while walking my dog this afternoon reminded me of one of his songs). And then I saw the news.

This virus is godawful. It’s wreaking havoc across the globe. And it’s surely like nothing that I’ve ever known in my lifetime – social distancing and working remotely for weeks on end. Watching as a bystander to a wholly inept federal government response, a public health system that is incomprehensible, a collective public who believes the most inane concepts and ideas, spouted by a bunch of people who are something less than human.

And then. Then. I see the news that John Prine, my John Lennon, has succumbed to this virus. It’s like the wind knocked out of me. I’ve got nothing now to sing tonight. I’ve got no more words to put on the pages. I just need a break. For a few hours. To imagine never getting the gift of the simplest/substantive song ever written, again. What he could do… no other.

If you don’t know him (like the simpleton on Twitter who blocked me after I called him out for tweeting, “Never heard of him”) please seek him out. You can adore your McCartney/Lennon, your Dylan, your Mitchell, and more. Amazing songwriters, all. But John Prine, for me, will never cross my lifetime again.

I miss him already.

Social Distincting

6 Apr

My cousin’s next-door-neighbor, who is 5, calls this behavior we’re all engaged in, where we keep distance from one another, “social distincting.” When I heard this last night, I just knew that it needed to be a song. And then, the more I thought about what it could really mean, the more I really liked it.

We do strive an awful lot in our society to be a certain way and attain certain things. I’ve found it so telling – and unsettling – that it’s those with a lot of money, generally made from sports and/or entertainment, who are praised for coming to the rescue now. They’re able to secure face masks and get testing centers set up (not to mention, get tested) and provide needed goods to communities and hospitals and nursing homes. These are, in and of themselves, of course, good things, but it leaves me wondering why it’s celebrities who have the means to do these things rather than our governments and/or healthcare systems.

But this is what we’ve got, because this is what we value as a society. Maybe it’s time we reprioritize and aspire to some different goals. Anyway, it’s these thoughts – and the wisdom of a 5-year old – that helped me come up with this song.

Chorus of Hope

5 Apr

Happy Day 5 in my COVID-19 30-day creativity challenge, everyone! Here’s my first of two songs that I’ll come up with today to get me back on track. This is really more of a song-lette (songella?) – whatever it is that you call a mini-song. It’s not really finished, as I can see other verses coming in time, but for the purposes of this exercise, it’s good to go!

The first line – and part of the inspiration – comes from some friends. For the past several years (and I sure hope this year, too!), I’ve gotten together with 3 other women who I went to seminary with more than 30 years ago now. We enjoy an extended long-weekend together, usually in a house on a lake, basking in the grace of good friendship.

We’ve also established a few rituals that we’re sure to include in each weekend. One of them is to write poems following the form known as Renga. This is a collaborative form of poetry where each person writes a line without seeing what anyone else has written. It’s astounding the beauty that can come from them. (Equally, as I was reading some of them for inspiration, I was laughing out loud at some of the lines we’ve written.)

In a word, it’s a song about hope. May you keep hope during these days, friends.