Music

Man O’ War.

So one of my new year’s goals back in January was to write and record an album. This is the first season of my life where I have felt both the need and the courage to do this, so I’ve been tackling it for the past two and a half months. The process of writing has been wonderful, and it usually flows out of me when the hurricanes of a bad day hit. I didn’t originally have a plan for this album; I just knew I wanted to do it. But as I’ve written, this project has turned into a concept. I never thought I’d be the author of a concept album, because usually my writings and lyrics are so sporadic and don’t really ever flow. But as I’ve been writing, I’ve noticed a common theme, the idea that ties them all together: the sea.

I wrote this one song a month ago on Valentines day, and just recently arranged the music for it. Hopefully Daniel and I can get a rough track done soon. I’d like to share with you the song, but also the thoughts I wrote down before the lyrics came rushing out.

I imagined the idea for this song on my way home from surprising Daniel with his valentine. Earlier I had written about a deep sin struggle, and was reflecting when I thought about the time my sister got stung by a man o’ war jellyfish. I thought about how it wrapped around her body, its tentacles penetrating her skin with its thousands of anchors stuck to her and in her. When they finally got it removed, she was torn up, bloody, swollen and paralyzed. She was unable to move for two weeks. When my sister saw the jellyfish, she went after it because she thought it was a ball. She had no idea that lurking beneath the water were long, dangerous tentacles that were very harmful and potentially fatal.

I liken it to sin. Enticing and often seemingly good and harmless, we chase after something and don’t realize we are about to be consumed by it. Sin burrows into us and holds us captive. And when God decides to rid us of our parasite, we can often be left bloody, broken and barely standing. We eventually heal and come out of it stronger, wiser, more humble and exponentially more compassionate.

However, the stronger the sin, the deeper those anchors go and the more painful it is to have them pulled out. Sin equals death, so when I think about death being pulled out of us, removed by its roots, it is nothing short of a hellish sight.

I want this song to be honest and graphic. I want to take the imagination to a place that paints a realistic picture of what this process is like. In the end, it is worth every bit of pain and terror.

Like a child to a ball
Are my eyes fixed on this
As the child goes after the toy
I will lie cheat and kill to get it
Grabbing it tight
And my eyes shutter with satisfaction
This thing has swallowed me whole

Like a man o’ war anchored into my skin
Deep are the veins that fill with poison
Wrapped around me
Squeezing
Consumed

Don’t rip them out
You’ll tear at my skin
If only gently removed
You might not hurt it
Terror fills my eyes
And the pain leaves me sick
Now I sit in my massacred mess

Like a man o’ war anchored into my skin
Deep are the veins that fill with poison
Wrapped around me
Squeezing
Consumed

Like a child to your knee
Are my eyes fixed on you
I can move whole again
Battle scars were once wounds
Your hands saved me
Thanks for pulling death and I apart
Now I see through new eyes

Lyrics That Stick With Me.

As I was on my way to pick Daniel up from work yesterday evening, Piano Man by Billy Joel came on the radio, and I will listen to it every time. There is one particular lyric in that song that I just love. He uses the word “bread” to replace the word “money.” I don’t know why, but it is so good to me. It got me to thinking about other lyrics that have moved/stayed with me. I wanted to share.

 

“They sit at the bar and put bread in my jar and say, ‘man, what are you doin here?'” – Billy Joel Piano Man

“Some days aren’t yours at all, they come and go as if they were someone elses days…” – Regina Spektor Somedays¬†

“Why’d they kill my dog and man I miss my Uncle Charles, ya’ll…” -Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Crossroads

“As the lover knows his beloved’s heart, all the shapes and curves of her even in the dark…” -Audrey Assad Known

“I wish you’d hold me when I turn my back… The less I give you, the more I get back…” The Civil Wars Poison and Wine

“And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off, whoa!” – Florence and the Machine Shake it Out

“All the vampires walkin’ through the valley, move west down Ventura Boulevard…” Tom Petty Free Fallin’

“Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” – Avett Brothers Murder in the City

“There will come a time I will look in your eye, you will pray to the God that you always denied, then I’ll go out back and I’ll get my gun I’ll say, ‘You haven’t met me, I am the only son.'” -Mumford and Sons Dust Bowl Dance

“In a many dark hour I’ve been thinkin’ about this, that Jesus Christ was betrayed by a kiss, but I can’t think for you, You’ll have to decide whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side.” -Bob Dylan With God on Our Side

“You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness, you got yourself into your own mess.” Wilson Phillips Hold On

“All these hit men look like organ grinders to me, Rock Stars on golden chains, little monkeys dancin’ round their feet…” -Edwin McCain Gramercy Park Hotel

“As the music at the banquet, as the wine before the meal, as the firelight in the night, so are you to me.” -Eastmountainsouth So are You to Me

“Now the diner in the morning for a plate of eggs, the waitress tries to give me change I say, ‘nah it’s cool just keep it.'” -Ryan Adams The End

“You’re as white as snow, but you were as bloody as a freshly cut throat… it’s the dirt in my lungs that brought You here to me, to save.” -The Lilies and Sparrows The Dirt

“Lord have mercy on my soul, I’ve had a good run but I can’t run anymore, just put me down…” -Every Time I die For the Record

“We are, we are, home for a season…” -Gasoline Heart That Girl

“Your first dawn blinded you, left you cursing the day, entrance is crucial and it’s not without pain…” -Nickel Creek This Side

“Until the sea of glass we meet, at last completed and complete, the tide of tear and pain subside, laughter drinks them dry…” -Switchfoot Restless

“When I get older losing my hair many years from now, will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottles of wine?” -The Beatles When I’m Sixty Four

“And this life sentence that I’m serving, I admit that I’m ever bit deserving, but the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.” -Relient K Be My Escape

 

What are some of your favorite lyrics?

 

Heart.

Music has played a big part of what I have been becoming for as long as I can remember.

I was recklessly unafraid to share that part of me when I was very young, as my family members can testify to. There wasn’t a family gathering that didn’t include me putting on a show of either songs I liked or one that I wrote and it ALWAYS involved a costume.

Something happened along the way to where I am now that changed all that, and I have been fighting it ever since.

When did I become so afraid to sing? What happened that stifled this part of me?

I can think of many instances and situations over my teenage and adult years that brought about this strong withholding of who I am. I mean, I could spell them out for you but that really isn’t the point of this post. To revisit those painful experiences which ultimately became excuses is not where I need to go. Because that is all they were: EXCUSES.

I want to tell you about a musician that has brought about inspiration and even healing for me over the past 4 years.

The first time I heard Audrey Assad I about fell to pieces in the pew I was sitting on. This ordinary and yet so graceful women sat at the grand piano and played those keys as easy as she was breathing. Her voice I have always described as dove chocolate. Or if you could liken her voice to an instrument, it would be the violin, cutting deep and right to the core of you in such a soft and beautiful way. It was like all of a sudden I was reminded that I could do that, I could sing. I cried through a few of her songs because I was ashamed of who I had become; a musical hermit.

The song that started the change in my heart, “Known,” is a song about her intimate relationship with God. She uses similes like, “and as the swallow knows, she knows the sky…” to paint a picture of how well He knows us. This song was ultimately a big part of my spiritual awakening and healing, and if you go and listen to it, you will see why.

Over the years as I have been searching, healing and writing, her songs have stayed with me and I listen to them often to find encouragement. During this recent Christmas season her song “Winter Snow” played several times on one of the local radio stations and each time I heard it I would get teary-eyed, mostly because I was happy that her song was on the radio. That meant other people were hearing her too and perhaps feeling just as inspired as I.

She is about to release her new Album “Heart” this coming February 14th. In the album trailer, she goes into detail about some of the songs she wrote and how they came about. Please go watch this video. If you are ANYTHING like me, it will enlighten and encourage your day.

So where am I currently in my song writing and sharing adventure?

I’m definitely writing. A LOT. And I’m not trying to write what I think people will want to hear. I used to do that every time I sat down to write a song, which just ended up creating a huge block that I couldn’t figure out how to break. Luckily one of my very best friends had the courage to lovingly tell me to get over my ridiculousness and just play and sing whatever I want. That has stuck with me. I will need to do a whole new music post on the lovely Genie Uribe.

I’ve been writing much about fear and what it does to my visions and dreams, and even how it plays out in the practicality of my every day life. But I will say that I cannot WAIT to begin the process of sharing my music with others and on here with my readers.

What are some of the things you know you were created to do, and what about life has tried to stifle that part of you?