My parents are here visiting for the holidays. We are living it up and adding more chairs around the kitchen table. They arrived from California last Tuesday. We've been to Thanksgiving church, we've feasted with Josh and Eva, we've walked the dirt road, watched the older boys sing in the Seward Choir and yesterday we churched, lunched, swam, shopped, dined and were home by nine.
Today is my first day off and I'm super tired. I've got three songs in the works right now and am trying to adjust to the new reality of writing in a crowd.
Typically I write songs when no one else is home. Sometimes I write when I'm alone at the kitchen table and the kids are in their rooms or watching TV downstairs. I don't usually write songs in a hive of activity, but I'm thinking that's what's going to have to happen in order to get this work done.
Song number one is writing to a ridiculous prompt. It's halfway done. I just need to sit down and finish it. Song number two is a lick and melody and nothing else. This is the harder one to write. I have a history of not being able to put words to music, but I'm gonna give it a shot.
Song number three hit me while sitting in the jacuzzi at the Community Center yesterday. It's the heart piece. The one I know I have to write. I even wrote the words down onto my phone to make sure I wouldn't forget it. But now what?
Do I disappear to some yet-to-be-discovered place without people or do I try and work through the tricky conditions? Writing while the house is full and active feels like doing crack at the dinner table. Or, ya know, putting on panty hose in the living room. Or gutting a fish under a Christmas tree. Off kilter, too exposed and it raises lots of questions.
When we were first parents, we traveled with our baby boy all over the place. We were in England, Spain, Germany and all of those places offered crazy circumstances. You learn real quick that you don't always have a nice cozy spot for taking care of your baby so you do it out in the open. You change diapers on park benches, you feed him when he's hungry, you sooth him at the back of the church, you do clothing changes on the bus. You just do what needs to be done wherever you happen to be.
Fast forward 13 years and I've got a pen, paper, and a guitar I try and play really quietly so as not to arouse suspicion and not getting any of the work done I'd really like to do. I'm struggling with doing what needs to be done in the midst of everything around me.
It's a Monday. The kids are out the door, the house is in a shambles. The list is long and I'm torn between the work and the work that's calling me. We all know this one. We all know the pull of the laundry and the pull of the muse and they usually lead in opposite directions. I've got to be there for both. I've got to be there and brave the crowd. We all do.