52 weeks is a lot of writing. I think I want to qualify that with an “especially,” even though it doesn’t need to be done. I know from a lot of writing. I did NaNoWriMo for 10 years until it seemed to outlive its usefulness to me as a writing exercise, and after the passing of a dear friend and writing buddy. It lost a lot of its charm and fun after that. And besides, once you’ve written over half a million words and done next to frak-all with them, there comes some time to start working harder on revisions, if these things are salvageable to begin with. Or to pick some shorter writing forms for some instant gratification, maybe? Also, there is a lot of value in the experience of writing for its own sake. The more you write, the better you get.
In 2008, when I moved back to Cincinnati after my marriage imploded, I picked my guitar back up and tried to turn some of my poems into songs. It was weird, because the breakup was difficult, as you would imagine, but it was also an incredibly positive driving force that was about to lead me to awesome changes I could have never foreseen. But those changes were still a few years away.
In 2008/2009, inspired by an open mic called “Creativa” that I started attending, I wrote a poetry project called “Seven Deadly Sundays,” where I wrote poems mostly on Sundays, when I actually had free time to write. Now, I think I approach writing a bit differently, as I tend to make time for it rather than penciling it in as a maybe. But the songs I was trying to make happen never manifested. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t make it happen. I wasn’t ready for it, yet, I suppose. Then I broke my arm in 2009 and that set me back. And then I moved again, and started grad school, and moved again, and then life took what might sound like an awful turn… but all was very much for the best.
The first song I have really liked that I have written since I started going to the 52-week songwriters group is about this major shift that happened back in 2010. It was essentially about this one day where everything changed. The prompt was “bridge,” and I used to have these epiphanies while driving home from grad school, and they would usually hit me as I drove over the Big Mac bridge, so I felt compelled to write about that. On this particular day, November 11, 2010, to be exact, I lost my job that I despised, made some new friends, and made some serious decisions about my future. I remember driving across the bridge and suddenly realizing that everything I was before that day was dead, and that someone had essentially killed me, and that I was grateful for it. I could leave behind all those pieces of myself that I hadn’t much liked anyway, and learn to love myself, and be this totally new person who other people enjoyed to be around, and just let go of all the bullshit that I had let drag me down before. It was incredibly liberating, and I have to confess, I broke down and sobbed as I crossed that bridge that night, and it was such a lovely, happy cry.
I remember driving past my exit, and to a little bar in Silverton, because it was NaNoWriMo season and there was a write-in there that night. I met up with my now departed friend, and she said, “Okay, we’re going to your place, dropping off your car and I’m taking you to karaoke.” So we went to the Northside Tavern and I got stupid drunk and sang Doris Day’s “Que Sera Sera,” appropriately. I picked the song for a few reasons, one being that it was the song I heard right before I got proposed to, just randomly, and how I remember hearing it and thinking, “I am about to make such a big mistake.” Funny how sometimes you know a mistake even when you’re in it, and you’re the kind of person who goes through the motions anyway. After that fateful day in November, I decided I wasn’t going to willfully make those kinds of life choices, not anymore.
Anyway, enough stalling. Here’s the song. There’s some audio issues that I didn’t notice til I uploaded it (oops), my camera is a fan of auto-focusing to hell and back, and my hair looks like I haven’t brushed it all day (spoiler: I brushed it half-assedly), but I don’t really guess I care about any of that, even though I took the time to mention them (more stalling, perhaps?). I’ve said I would share my art, bad or not, and I’m nervous about it, but I’m sharing it anyway. Also, I am still learning about this whole singing thing, so if you want to see the lyrics, click on the link, as they’re posted on youtube. Oh! And also also, I stole the line, “Where were you the day you died?” from my friend Eric Adams’ comic book Lackluster World. Just to point to where I did my thieving.