Thursday, April 30, 2009

Of Editing and Edification

I’ve always had the writing bug. It bit me early, and for as long as I can remember, my thoughts have always just made more sense on paper.

As I’ve grown older, this expression has taken on various mediums, most recently combining with another love (necessity) of mine – making music. As several of you know, I bought a 88-weighted-key keyboard last fall, sort of on a lark, as an expensive motivation for writing more music (and to scratch a particular inspirational itch). It has been one of, if not the singular best investment I have ever made.

As with any activity, I still go through alternating spells of drought, stagnation, and open-floodgate deluges of creativity – almost like a musical manic-depression. But in those instances when I am flooded with ideas, I get on a roll and it’s hard to stop myself, which is, overall, a positive thing.

The downside is that writing music can be really scary; it makes me really honest – I can’t help it. I have the inability to compose without it being at least partially personal. Sometimes I sit down and start inventing, totally unprepared for what is about to come out. I realize things about myself through writing as much as I do through interacting with people or reading or watching others live their lives. So I start running with an idea, then suddenly I’ve gained so much creative velocity that I can’t put it down, can’t extract myself from the productive process, and before I have the sense to stop it, all kinds of beautiful and uncomfortable inklings and melodies and convictions and stories have taken on literary flesh and bone.

And I love that they bring me insight and clarity, because songwriting, for me, always contains some degree of edification. But I often hate that they’re true.

This is why editing takes place and why some songs will never make it past the doors of my music room.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Love this Understanding

"I hope no reader will suppose that 'mere' Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of existing communions--as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable. It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and panelling. In plain language, the question should never be: 'Do I like that kind of service?' but 'Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?'
"When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house."
-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity