The Therapy of Writing Music
Music has always been there for me. Sometimes when there was nothing else. When I write songs that are completely honest, sometimes even brutally honest, those songs become enduring truths to which I can return. Reminders of wisdom earned.
“I’ve lived a real life and paid full price.” Always liked that line.
We all have stuff to deal with:
Gotta jump off the victim train
Everybody’s got their share of pain
Darkness ain’t gonna keep you sane
Don’t waste a minute
No one knows how much…time they got
(Focus on what is), not what’s not
Treasure what’s given, not what’s bought
Somethin’ no one can take away
From “Streamin’ Dreams”
Everyone’s got their share of pain. Some more than others. When I look back on my life, I realize that some of my deepest wounds were self-inflicted. And while that is a somewhat daunting realization, it also is empowering. I can, and have, changed over the years. The choices I make create my life experience. My songs provide a window through which I can view my life. An opportunity to purposely pay attention to my life.
Experience means nothing unless you’re paying attention.
Recovery from life’s setbacks is part of life and how you recover often helps determine the person you become. For some, recovery is all about figuring out who—other than yourself—is to blame.
I never found blaming others very helpful or empowering and, besides, I couldn’t afford that kind of expensive therapy. However, music was a form of therapy that was always available to me. The only price I needed to pay was being honest with myself. If I was completely honest when I wrote and sang my songs, it often surprised me with insight into the narratives I’d created to help me make sense of the world and my place in it. With that insight I often made different choices and changed my story.
For me the process of writing and singing songs is extremely therapeutic. I find that the more honest I am, the more therapeutic the process becomes.
Using raw emotion and even specific details of my life creates a sense of authenticity that I feel every time I sing that song. Below is a verse from one of my songs:
Memories haunt my dreams at night
I rewrite stories to make ‘em play out right
Like a newly-blind man searchin’ darkness for the life he once had
I remember the day…I came to pick up my things
There was someone there…you wouldn’t let me in
Man, I thought I could never hurt that bad
From “Makin’ Peace With Myself”
Some of my best songs will never be played for anyone. They’re too personal. Yet I play those songs often. By myself. It’s like revisiting old friends. Helpful friends. Friends with whom I’ve shared very personal and intimate, often lonely, moments of my life.
It’s meant a lot to know that this friend is there for me no matter what. It’s a safe place to go.
Music has never let me down. Never abandoned or judged me.
While I never became a famous rock and roll star, music has meant more to me than anyone will ever know.