I have a new song coming out on October 1st called "Would You Like to Come In?".
One night when I was still living in LA, I got the itch and started pacing around my tiny room trying to write a song. Strumming out some basics, I felt drawn toward a simpler set of changes than I would usually allow myself to work with. It hit differently than what I (mistakenly) thought I was "supposed" to sound like. It was satisfying to play, and easy.
Grabbed my pen and notebook and started scribbling down some vague, impressionistic lines. Running mostly on the feeling, connecting the images based on the mouth-feel in my mind. The moment of bone shaking awe when looking upward, seeing how literal eternity is and that eternity's face is directly above our heads at all times. Clouds parting and ineffable light streaming in through this momentary portal into that infinite space we reside in already. Then shifting in time to moment that follows this initial grand vision, when the feeling is still very much present but the more typical reality experience begins to reset itself. A red-tailed hawk flying through the air below this mystical cloudbank. Tears falling at the beauty of the moment. Recognizing that if God is anywhere at all, it's right Here. Remembering That. Knowing that That is where you really come from, what you really are.
In the various promotional materials for this song I've said that it's about "a drug vision, a nightmare and falling in love." That's mostly accurate. It's really more like this: "'Would You Like to Come In?' is a finger-picked ballad about a series of mystical experiences that occurred sober, or meditating, or under the influence of THC or under the influence of 5-7 grams of dried psilocybin mushrooms all drawn from to paint a more archetypal representation of the mystical experience without reference to any specific spiritual or philosophical doctrine."
And that's just the first verse. A bit long, especially if I wanted to include the other things the song covers.
The second verse paints a different scene, one from another camp entirely. As a child, and I don't know for certain the when, how, why or even who with of this memory, I witnessed a car completely on fire on the side of US-92 between Daytona Beach and Deland, Florida in the middle of the night. I know that I was very young. I remember that even at the time I knew I was seeing someone's charred, dead body there. The memory popped up in nightmares more when I was a teenager going through some severe depression, and I never forgot it.
When writing this song, something about that memory and the dreams associated with it seemed linked in a sense to the experience described in the first verse. Maybe it's the gravity of the two scenes, despite their marked differences. After all, "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom."
Finally, the last verse came about specifically because I was missing my girlfriend. The scene described actually happened and pretty much the way I say it in the song. I woke up one morning on a trip home to Florida to see her and my folks. What ripped me out of sleep that day was a pretty strong allergic reaction to some dust that had collected under her bed, closing off my throat and stopping me from breathing. I awoke to the sensation of being suffocated.
As my mind slowly cleared and my windpipe slowly opened, I became aware of my surroundings. Birds outside chirping in the clear morning air. Her soft, warm bed. Her cat at the end of the bed, sleeping. Her next to me, sleeping and looking like every bit the angel she is. A strange ambivalence set in as the joy and gladness struggled with the fear and anger of being awakened by suffocating. She stirred slightly, then half-way opened her eyes, oblivious to my plight. She blinked sleepily and asked if I wanted to scoot closer and cuddle. After getting up to clear my sinuses and drink some water, I did. I was fine. Breathing again. We went back to sleep. I slept great after that.
The point of the song, as seems to be the overarching theme of much of my music now, is that beauty is real. Beauty is completely real and is at least as strong as suffering is, if not stronger. There is meaning in reality, in living. It is here and can be experienced. There is room for life to be worth something, it just takes the courage to be sensitive enough to pick up on it. Whether it's in the recognition of how short our time is, or how immense the universe is, or in the moments when unfiltered humanity shows up as sweet, as loving. We've lost that to a great degree in the West and much to our detriment. If there's no point, we have no excuse to try and will allow ourselves into worser and worser situations both personally and communally until we have nothing left but only pain and only suffering. To take on the responsibility of meaning is the very thing that saved me from suicide and crippling depression.
Since this is the first blog post, I'll end with my favorite poem. It's relevant to the point I've been driving at. It's a Charles Bukowski poem called The Laughing Heart:
"Your life is your life
Do not let it be clubbed into dank submission.
Be on the watch.
There are ways out.
There is light somewhere.
It may not be much light but
It beats the darkness.
Be on the watch.
The gods will offer you chances.
You can't beat death but
You can beat death in life, sometimes.
And the more often you learn to do it,
The more light there will be.
Your life is your life.
Know it while you have it.
You are marvelous
The gods wait to delight