Writing 101, Day 3: Commit to a Writing Practice
Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?
Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.
Ok – so I cheated a little with this one – I’m still struggling with the concept of ‘free write’ when I know somebody else will be reading my work. I’m still trying to break out of my habit of attacking these assignments in the same manner that I write my Uni assignments – checking for grammar and punctuation and that it makes sense… I’ve also only written about one song! I may return and write about two more songs using the concept of free write later! But for now, here’s my first attempt.
Forever Young – Bob Dylan
Forever Young reminds me of the most courageous, selfless man I have ever been blessed enough to know – my Dad.
Many a day passed when the sound of Dad caterwauling to a cacophony of Bob Dylan tracks could be heard from our kitchen, as he cooked for us his latest concoction; sausage and egg butty (with a cheese slice); waffle and bacon butty (with a cheese slice); sausage, waffle, egg AND bacon butty (with a cheese slice). At the time, I didn’t quite appreciate Dad’s love of Dylan’s raspy tones, (or his Garfield the Cat inspired sandwiches for that matter!) But when Dad passed, I longed to hear him wailing out of tune, I craved Bob’s lyrics and for the sound of his harmonica to drift through our home once again. But most of all, I wanted nothing more than to see our gentle giant stroll through the door holding a great, big, greasy butty (with a cheese slice!)
I have Bob’s lyrics tattooed on my inner arm:
May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung;
May you stay forever young.
Forever Young reminds me of how Dad lived his life, and of how I aspire to live mine each day: May you always do for others and let others do for you.
I was lucky enough to see Bob Dylan on my travels. I went alone to watch him play live at the Vector Arena, in Auckland. Despite the packed out venue, there was an empty seat beside me, which I honestly believe was occupied by the love and spirit of my Dad. I listened in admiration to Bob’s two hour set, imagining Dad watching Bob play live when he was in his heyday. Admittedly, my heart sunk a little when the curtains closed before hearing Forever Young play; but then, to my utter astonishment and gratitude, the curtains rose, and Dylan’s harmonica once again drifted throughout the stadium to the sound of the crowd cheering. The unmistakeable melody of Forever Young filled Vector Arena and filled my heart, enveloping it with Bob’s words and the love of my hero, my Dad.