I was listening to the new Toad album today. It’s gorgeous, but don’t worry. I won’t make this an album review. It’s too soon anyway. I have to listen to an album for a least a week before I develop a complete opinion… let the songs take root and start to bloom in my mind. There is one song, though, “Golden Age,” that I feel safe in mentioning now. My opinion on it isn’t apt to change over time. Glen’s voice is so beautiful and warm I feel like I’m swimming in it. Jesus, it’s amazing what a human voice can do, when it’s the right voice. Stunning.
My husband and I were discussing the lyrics on the album overall (stay with me; I promise this veers from the album soon). It struck both of us, again, how many of the lyrics hit home. They feel personal. That’s one of Glen’s gifts, I suppose. What makes him such a brilliant songwriter is his ability to make the lyrics feel personal to everyone. There’s a universality there that bends my mind. He takes each song, each story, and makes it resonate for anyone listening. It might start out as personal for him, I don’t know. But in the end, there are probably thousands of people who hear his words and feel as if the songs were written for them and them alone.
I don’t know that I have that gift. I suppose I could insert some obvious joke here about self-centeredness and navel gazing. The truth is, I work hard to choose the exact right words to describe my feelings so that hopefully, everyone reading will understand exactly what I am experiencing. I have a friend who said when she reads my blog she feels like she’s right here, going through all of it with me, and I thought it was the best compliment. It’s still a good one; I’m not discounting it. But it occurs to me that as a writer – or a wannabe writer – my goal should be to write in a way that’s less self-centered and more universal. Someday, I want everyone to feel I could be writing to or about them. But what if I’m not that good? I spend plenty of time worrying about not being good enough in dozens of ways. Looks like I have a new fear to add to the list. Joy.
I read in someone else’s blog that when she started blogging she thought it was “supposed to be like a journal anyone could read.” Wait, you mean it isn’t? Whoops! I knew reading other people’s blogs was going to screw with my perception of what a blog “should” be. Still, this is my blog, no one else’s. I’m still deciding what it is. Hell, I’m still deciding who I am, half the time. I guess if that is “wrong” or unsatisfying in some way you can always choose another blog to read. God knows there are enough choices out there.
Someone asked me tonight if I had ever sent something I’d written to a magazine. Ha. No. I’ve never sent anything anywhere. For starters, I would have to finish something. I have a bit of trouble in that area, which sounds silly even to me at the moment, given how much I’ve been writing here. But again, blogging is different. Yes, it’s writing, but it’s writing with a different weight of expectation. I still have expectations, but they are somewhat less extreme. Obviously, since finishing and posting don’t appear to be a problem here. I remember once writing a piece to read in a PTA meeting (yes, I am a PTA mom) about my son’s kindergarten teacher. Someone afterward told me it was publishable if I just tweaked it a bit. God, did that mess with my head. First it was, “Tweak it how, exactly? Does she think there’s something wrong with it?” Then it was “Publish it where? Where would I send it?” Yeah. I hope it goes without saying that the piece was never tweaked or sent.
So am I good enough to make my words universal, accessible to everyone? And if I’m not, could I be? I’m afraid of the answer. I’m afraid of a lot of things. I have no doubt that moving past that fear is the first step to accomplishing any of this. I am hoping that blogging is, on some strange level, part of that first step. Part of my answer. In the meantime, I hope you will all bear with me while I continue to ask the questions. Even if they’re directed at me, more selfish than universal. For the moment, at least.