As a singer/songwriter, music is my spiritual journey. It's how questions come to my attention, its how I work out my questionings. When I began to take the Christian-eze out of my lyrics, and just write about what I really felt, it sent me in a whole different direction. I started doing open mic's in bars and clubs, and less and less in church. Many people I've met in traditional churches, and Quakers feel music should only talk about God or Christ directly, or some notable church person. I however believe that I was created, so my journey is worth writing about, the good, the bad, the ugly. Any other songwriters out there, want to express your leading?
T.Marie ( aka Anne Stansell)

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Ah! Here I am checking back from your later post (about why no one responded.)

But I'm not a songwriter. It's a whole different skill from poetry! (I've found that being open to inspiration in one art form translates into openness and interesting results in other art forms, but that doesn't mean that my paintings can have the technical competence you'd get from people who've been drawing full-time since childhood!)

There's a kids' book: The Bat Poet by Randall Jarrell, that poets tend to like a lot, about a bat who stays up late one morning and hears the mockingbird singing. He knows he can't sing like that, but he thinks he maybe could do something like it with words...

As Paul Simon sings, "There are times when even music cannot substitute for tears"-- but the music adds to the power of it. And reduces the complexity of what you can say that way.

But songwriting and poetry (I can't decide, which art form is primary here) is of course a sacred gift! And what you say you're doing with it is exactly right!

One time a woman next to me on a bus asked me what did I do? So I told her, "Nothing. I write poetry."

"Ah," she said, "You tell the truth."

That's the job, all right.

I can't speak to the question about songwriting, as I have little experience in that field (I did write one song, years ago-- or rather, I collaborated with a musician, writing the lyric).

 

Perhaps I can suggest that the topic is connected to a broader question I've long had about Christians , and/or Quakers and the aesthetic, or beauty... I sometimes wonder whether (some) Friends mistrust beauty, or are indifferent to it?  Today during First Day School, someone talked about the idea that words are a distraction, a hindrance-- that the important thing was the spiritual meaning lying behind or beneath or beyond...

 

While I understand what was meant, I found myself resisting the idea somewhat.  While it may be true that I am listening for the Spirit during another Friend's vocal ministry, I can't deny that a well-constructed message, a skillful use of language, an effective metaphor, and above all a strong sense of proportion and balance-- all of these qualities, when present, do give me pleasure.  And the same applies to other modes of performance, namely the song.

 

Finally, I have to say: the most powerful vocal ministry I've experienced, at Illinois Yearly Meeting a few years ago, was sung-- and sung well.

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