Letters. I used to write letters all the time. I didn't go to my high school reunion back in California, but one of my friends did. She stayed at her parents house and, when she was there, emailed me to say she was reading through some of the letters I wrote her from Paraguay back when I was a foreign exchange student. I wonder what I wrote.
It took me a while to find songwriting, but it didn't take me long to find writing. I started with one journal when I was 14 and that journal turned into pages and pages and another journal and another journal. I think I've told you that I threw them all away once in a fit of despair.
When I wasn't writing in my journal I was writing letters. I wrote to my parents, to my friends, to boys who were mostly figments of my imagination but with mailing addresses. I loved it. And then life changed and letters faded into the past along with acid wash jeans and Debbie Gibson.
I went to a class at Song School last week where a songwriter shared that he was a letter writer and it reminded me of something that used to be me. I used to be a letter writer too.
Letters take time and ink and paper and envelopes and stamps. They take a trip to the post office sometimes. Letters take patience and imagination and they need many hands and trips to get from the sender to their destination. They are the opposite of fast, of hasty, of carelessness. Letters live in reflection and quiet. Maybe that's why it took me so long to remember them. Maybe those are precisely the reasons to start writing them again.
Songwriting. I love it. I spent a week in Lyons, CO being reminded of how much I love songs and songwriting. And I was comforted to find that my motivation for songwriting really hasn't changed since the beginning of this journey. I want desperately to do good work. I want to be proud of it. I feel like I'm getting closer. I have to keep writing to see what will come.
The village. So it's a ranch in Lyons. We all pitch tents. We all lug our guitars to and from camp and go in to town to buy ice. We sing our songs to one another out in the open, beside a river, under a tent shelter, in class and after dark on camp chairs. We cheer each other on, we cry together, we encourage one another, we take risks and get good news and bad news from teachers we esteem. After four years, the village feels real good. I love knowing peoples names in class even if I don't know them very well. I love recognizing voices I hear from afar and learning the different styles and genres that exist in our village. That's what it felt like this year and it made me smile.
Now I'm back to my regularly scheduled village. This one makes me smile too. I'm back to working at the bar, going to meetings, filling out school forms, making dinner, doing the laundry and giving thanks for the lovely life we have alongside the tall corn. Tomorrow we're having company over. Maybe I'll write a letter to my mom and tell her all about it.