A 21st Century Ode:
An Open Letter to Music and What It’s Made Me
This is an expression of gratitude to the phenomenon we frequently take for granted. The part of our lives we do not even recognize as a phenomenon. But how else do you explain the entity that is music?
There’s a realm that exists as a bridge between mankind and mind, and that realm is music. An integral chemistry of words with the sounds that words could never be used to fully encompass.
There is emotional engagement,
there is spiritual embodiment,
there is a mental reach
that comes with any body of music.
In order for music to exist, there must be a root of its growth. This starting point is not an instrument, nor is it the human voice. It is a voice of the soul — or more plainly stated, an emotion.
You do not pick up a guitar by means of its strings, but instead by the means of an internal urge. This is the urge to make what you feel within become an entity outside of yourself.
It is the grueling stomachache of loss
that wants to manifest within a groaning bass line.
It is the airiness of first kisses
that are dying to be whipped across a drum kit.
I deeply respect this process – of giving life to something that harvests from somewhere we cannot touch, and making it available to others. And, more importantly, to ourselves. A process that reaches people.
As humans with intricate lives, we carry heavy burdens. We are taunted by our own degree of demons every day.
The amazing thing about music: artists can use the weight of a song, an album, a lyric, to lessen those burdens and diminish those demons.
You hear a song on the radio
in which every lyric has a place in your heart.
And you turn up the volume.
You’re standing in a crowd at the foot of a stage,
bellowing the words with a stranger you’ve never met.
Their eyes are closed,
and they sing it with similar fervor.
And that makes you sing a little prouder.
You are perched at the edge of the stage,
and the lights are blinding,
making the individual faces of a crowd into one shadowed sea.
But they deliver your song in one unified voice.
And you smile.
And that is just the beginning.
I feel privileged to live in a world where music exists—something with the complexity and carrying capacity of a thousand internal dimensions. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to investigate and interpret it as intimately as possible in relation to the artist and myself. Every person owes it to themselves to let their emotions and mental spirits engage in something that matters to them. In many ways, that is what music is all about.
it’s an intangible bridge between
what we can access
and what we haven’t quite figured out yet.
It’s a way of discovering parts of yourself
that are genuinely and authentically you.
And it’s worth every ounce of energy it takes to bring that out of yourself.
Last month’s column: Poetry straight from the journal. Read “The Entries” here.