If I had to choose a time where I really became conscious of the power and the meaning of words, it would be sometime in the late summer of 2002. I wish I could be more specific about the specific moment, like some people who have the irritating ability to slap an Aha!, as well as a date and time, to memories. However, mine is a slow moment, one that grew along with my love for a favourite album, the soundtrack for the painting and renovating of a Brampton basement apartment.
(Btw, if you haven’t yet listened to Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds: Live at Luther College, I can’t recommend it enough, particularly if you enjoy acoustic rock.)
There’s a song on the album, entitled “Seek Up,” that's about reevaluating our economical priorities. It’s a great song, one I’d enjoyed since purchasing the CD. But for the first time, as the wonderful sounds of the acoustic guitar swelled through that dark downstairs space, the words seemed to slide themselves into the melody, like they were meant to fit. And I really heard the lyrics, their cadences and rise and fall and dips and sways. They moved me.
And it took a song to do it. (Or paint fumes.)
I have always enjoyed reading, thirstily as a child, and necessarily as an English major in university. I wrote well, too, putting words together and having them make sense (mostly). However, the essence had eluded me, that ethereal quality that makes nations go to war, parents to cry, and children to laugh and laugh and laugh. It’s like enjoying a good bottle of wine after living on the boxed stuff. Like realizing your dad’s no longer holding your bike seat as you fly along your block. A little like falling into the good kind of love.
There’s been no escape from it, either. The power of the words in a good song or poem or book has found itself perfectly welded to me, like the lightest alloys fused to create the greatest strength. It’s why I write, really, hoping some of that wonder will make it into someone else’s existence.
This week I heard a new song, “It’s Time” by the Imagine Dragons, that affected me like “Seek Up” did way back when. I’m still trying to figure out the song’s meaning, to be honest, but what got to me was first the tune, a wonderfully lifting and inspiring thing. A smile song. Then I read the lyrics, with the speaker in the song’s narrative seemingly about to embark upon something, a dream, maybe, with the words, “It’s time to begin, isn’t it?”
And I was moved again.
It is time to begin, isn’t it? Truly. That’s how I feel when I think about my writing, and the amazing blessings I encounter daily as the clicking of the keyboard fills my upstairs office in fits and starts (no typist, me). As I’m drenched in light so unlike that Brampton space I tried to fill with bright paint yet bound by the same sense of beginning. It’s how I feel when a friend announces some new endeavour via facebook, or seeks to make excellent an old, true habit or occupation or love. When a teacher has a good day. When government chugs along with an honest effort. Birth. Death. Life.
Anyhow, that’s what I’m mulling over these days. I hope it resonates.
It's Time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sENM2wA_FTg
Seek Up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6d0-D6KHlg