It’s 2014 already. I haven’t updated my website since June 2013. Busyness and laziness were enough to stop me. When they failed there was always the daunting feeling that I would not only be responsible to post something new, but that I would be obligated to make up for lost time by posting an incredible amount of artwork/songs/excuses and worthy explanations for my absence. I could talk about playing gigs around Lansing, both of my own material and with the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle, about working on community art projects through REACH, and about new milestones in my personal life, but who has time for that?
This past October two of my siblings and I were fortunate enough to attend a Derek Webb* show in Ann Arbor. He pointed out that many people have the idea that they have wandered too far from God and that to find their way back to Him would mean trekking through a whole mess of desert and wilderness. But Webb posed the question (this is, of course, my paraphrased version of it): what if God is following us around, and if we are ever lost all we really have to do is turn around? What if God is, to use Webb’s words, closer than you think?
On that line of thought, I am taking the turn-around approach to updating my website. Instead of finding some path backward to get on track with web posting, I’m starting from where I am. Will I ever “catch up” on the posts and updates I had hoped to get done in 2013? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s a new year, a new opportunity to set goals and have high expectations for myself, instead of feeling guilty for all the things I haven’t done. Here’s to a productive 2014!
*Derek Webb is one of my biggest inspirations as a musician/singer-songwriter. I could (and really should) write a whole post about his influence on me. I am particularly challenged by his honest, slap-in-the-face lyrics (definitely not background/party music!), which often wrestle with the teachings of Jesus and call out those who claim to follow Him. And Derek is a perfect example of a musician who can play with a band and produce memorable studio recordings… yet he still holds his own when it is just him and a guitar. Definitely something I aspire to.
I just posted a new song called Stuck that is deeply influenced by Derek Webb. First of all, I’m gonna give credit where credit is due and say that musically it is almost identical to his song “A Savior on Capitol Hill.” I was playing chords, singing, and at some point realized it sounded similar, but I love that song and how Derek sings it, and I have been wanting to experiment with different sounds/styles. So I decided to keep it how it is.
Lyrically the song started off with a phrase that made me laugh, but as I started writing it took a turn for the serious side. Context: I took communion at church one week and while the rest of the congregation moved on to pray and sing songs, I couldn’t ignore the fact that some of the cracker was stuck in my teeth. You know that feeling: when you’re in a public setting and feel food stuck way back there, and the subtle tongue maneuver to get it out just isn’t working… So I’m sitting there in church wondering if I should just pick it out, but symbolically (for me it is symbolic, I know this varies based on denomination) it is the body of Christ in my teeth! How can I justify picking it out with my finger? I smiled as I penned the first line in my notebook, thus the song “Stuck” began. But it evolved into a song about feeling stuck in the habit of going to church, not getting much out of it, criticizing authority, and wondering if the problem is them or me… I guess you’ll figure that out if you listen to the song… :) I am happy to report that a lot of my feelings have changed since writing it (hence my hesitancy to post it), but that is another reason I intend to post more often. There are many experiences and sentiments that are as fleeting as they are powerful. I want to capture as much as I can while I am present with it. Tomorrow will bring new sorrows and joys.