Monday, June 02, 2008

Songwriter and Pizza Girl

I am full of things this morning. I just can't keep my mind from stirring and my hands are just itching to write. So I will add another Rule to my List.

13. When inspiration strikes, go with it!

I spent most of yesterday afternoon writing a song. You heard me right. Are you surprised? I am! But the more I think about it, not so much. I have wanted to write hymns for many years and guess I have actually written quite a few. I just didn't write them down. I just sing them to myself as I go about my work. When I can't remember the words, I just make up new ones and keep going. My kids all heard hundreds of my original versions of hymns when they were babies at the breast.

So my reaction to Buddy's talking yesterday about Fanny Crosby and how she had written close to 1,000 hymns didn't surprise me. Because as usual, the thought had already crossed my mind the day before. Funny how things work that way, eh? I went up after church and jokingly told him I will be his next Fanny. Silly in a way. Not silly at all when I really think about it.

It has been an interesting process because I am normally a prose writer. Lots of long sentences. Lots of words. But as far as I can tell, songs use fewer words than I am used to using. It was a process of filtering and trying to crystallize the ideas and images into phrases. It'll take some practice and some research. Good thing I can listen away all day on my new Zune!

Why would I want to write hymns and songs? Well, for one, they are a lot shorter than books! LOL! Less intimidating to someone with a streak of perfectionism that's a mile wide. And they are such a huge part of my spiritual journey and my life in the church. There is almost always one on my lips and in my mind when I wake up first thing in the morning. I must dream in songs because before I am even fully awake, I am singing one to myself.

Guess this is why I wrestled so hard with God for years about not being a singer. That is the Gift that I wanted! Why couldn't He just give that Gift to me? I would have used it all the time for His glory if He would have just blessed me with pitch. Guess I still wrestle with this one! So, I married a Music Man, and he sings beautifully for both of us. That fateful night in an empty darkened sanctuary almost 19 years ago when I first heard him sing and play the piano, I sealed the deal in my heart forever. I knew he would be my beloved.

And now the very first song I have ever written is dedicated to my Music Man. And it is all about being radical and risky and totally crazed over God. I am lovin' how things work out sometimes. Most of the time. Ok, all the time, if you give it all to God. I can't write the song out here yet because it is a total surprise for my beloved. My friend, Buddy, is working out the kinks for me so I can finalize the words. But here is the refrain so far of my song.

Imagine yourself standing in line for a roller coaster ride. You have just stepped up to the car, look across the platform and see Jesus standing there ready to get in the car with you. And He says....

The Holy Roller Coaster Ride

“Step out of line and follow Me.
Buckle Up, baby
Just wait and see.
Take a deep breath and hold on tight
We’re going on a Holy Roller Coaster Ride.

Things won’t be easy
Things won’t be calm
Together we climb
Together we fall.

So, we'll see how it turns out. It has been a thrilling way to spend the last 24 hours. If nothing else, it has been reaffirming to be able to turn to someone like Buddy who God has placed in my life but whom I have never really gotten to know. It has been good to hand it over to someone I trust and respect and to see what will happen. It might be totally awful! It might really suck. But it was my first try, and it was fun so I am ok with that. Or it might have parts of it that we can rework and turn into something really catchy. It is certainly written for Today. And I am completely intrigued by the idea of being able to put words in Mark's mouth. Grin. I would love for him to write the melodies for me. This one was a surprise, so I haven't shown it to him. But I will show them to him from now on. And Malachi, too. Wouldn't that be a cool family activity? And they can actually play them! I need to get back to my guitar lessons!

Mark chuckled yesterday when I told him I was writing a song. He said something to the effect of "Well, are you just going to try to do absolutely everything you can at least once?" Not a bad idea! I kind of like it. Learning new things keeps me alive. It keeps me fresh. It helps me to realize how things constantly change. That is really important for a person with tendencies towards melancholy and despair. The depressed mind functions differently than a healthy one. Its reality is that nothing will ever change; things will always be as painful as they are today. I much prefer to relish the reality that things will always be changing for me. Things can always start anew.

Before my depression settled in, I had a saying. When things got difficult to deal with, and I didn't know what to do, I would say, "Maybe I'll just go make a pizza." I like pizza. I like chopping all the ingredients and laying them out in cool symmetrical designs (I am an artist and designer after all.....). I like eating them, too. And in my more recent home-making years, I even like rolling out the dough and letting it rise. Making a pizza takes time. It takes some effort. I find it very hard to be angry or filled with gloom while engaged with a pizza. Especially if I have remembered to.....Rule #12. Leave the praise music on.

(Hah! Guess what! I just realized that I did actually get engaged over pizza. Mark and I proposed to each other in Pizzaria Uno in Dallas right before Christmas in 1989!

Off to the kitchen to mix up some pizza dough...well, not really. Not this week since we are all packed up. But maybe I will make that the first thing I cook in my new kitchen. That would be fun!

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