I spent some time listening to some songwriters on the iPlayer this morning. One of the song writers is a song writing role model of mine, of sorts. One of the others I had never heard of, the other I knew but hadn’t heard about in decades. What beautiful music! What soul-wrenching, heart-aching poetry and delicate acoustic tones! It soared. It inspired.
I think there are two terrible tragedies that can befall an artist, especially a musician. The first is to work tirelessly for years, but never find a large audience. For those artists, at least there is the consolation of the work itself. Nobody appreciates it, but at least they do themselves. The second tragedy is either to never make their music at all, or to make it for a while, but abandon it for some reason. We are all the poorer when music that could have been made, which could have consoled or uplifted us, isn’t made at all. There is a gaping hole where the love and longing could have been. A nothingness where there could have been inclusion, warmth and outreach.
I think making music is a semi-heroic act. I’m sure most musicians don’t see it that way. It’s just what they do. But to those that appreciate music, who need it to live, these acts of musical creation are like nourishment. They’re like a drink in the desert. It takes a great deal of courage, vulnerability and honesty to write songs and the song writers are always open to criticism, or worse, being ignored entirely. Hats off to those that make a life of it. Heaven knows it doesn’t always pay very well and only a very small minority ever make a handsome living from it. I’m sure they don’t do it for the money.
So here’s to the song writers. Keep writing. Keep composing. Keep producing and recording. If you aren’t currently writing, but could be, please do. Please do it for all of us. Do it for humanity. Soothe our troubles. Enliven us. Give us hope. Leave us an escape route into sonic fantasy, when it all gets to be too much. Your work is important.