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« But it makes sense to me... | Main | The Hector Letter: I Remember The Time »

Is it ever too late to start writing songs??


So you say its too late to start writing songs? Its never too late.

Lets look at it.

Time is just an illusion really, a concept made up by humans to put markers on our trite little existence. It’s a measurement to make us think we somehow matter more than we do. You are where you are right at this moment and really nothing else matters, not the future, not the past. The future is just an illusion of the mind. The past is just a beautiful image recorded in our mind, a snapshot of what has been. It’s no more real than Santa Claus. At least when it comes to songwriting we can use the past to somehow tweak the emotions of others that somehow might have shared our experience.

This subject is especially poignant to me as I started down the songwriting path late. It was late by rock star standards anyway - 28 years old. Hell, Joplin, Hendrix, and Morrison all kicked the bucket at 28 with a career of music behind them. I was a drummer for years, content to just stay in the back and pound the tubs. I did play a pretty big role with my partner at the time, in arranging and producing all of the songs he wrote, but other than that I had no real urge to write anything.

But then I met my soon-to-be wife and I had to break down a lot of emotional walls to make that relationship work and lo! and behold, all this stuff started coming up. Soon I was cranking out songs like there was no tomorrow, and I started performing them out in the clubs in Nashville. People laughed at me at first. I wasn’t a very good performer and a lot of folks hinted to me that it was a young mans game and I was already over the hill. Maybe by industry standards I was, but my real mistake was that, subconsciously, I bought into it and started playing hurry up. I worked twice as hard and twice as fierce because I thought my time might be running out. I thought my chances for success might be slimmer as I was an aging beauty. I played the game harder and tried to manipulate the situation more, to move the process ahead - a lot of the time using alcohol to fuel the process. This left no room for Grace and as we all know (or maybe we don’t)

Grace is a timeless pursuit.

All I did, really, was hurt myself in the end. I made a lot of good work but I really think I spent just as much time spinning my wheels and overdoing things as I did being productive.

If a song has to come out, it comes out, and there’s no amount of time before you or behind you that’s going to make the process of getting it down and heard any easier. I didn’t take into account the serendipitous part of the plan. After years of heartache and study, I realize the only place I’m going is right here and now, anyway. I did achieve some success and when I got there I realized I overvalued it. The real joy was in the creative process, of slowing down and savoring the muse that seems to flutter out of the sky and explode from your subconscious. It has nothing to do with time. It operates in a timeless realm. When I’m in that space of creation and writing a song, it’s like I’m not even there. Nothing matters but what I’m doing right in the moment. That’s where the magic is, and that’s the only place for me that it can happen.

So I don’t think it matters if you’re on your deathbed.

If the muse hits ya, take that chance.

It’s the most beautiful thing

Happy writing

jeff finlin

jesus was a motorcycle man

Reader Comments (1)

Dear Jeff , your song "Jesus was a.... was played on the dutch radio . I got blown away by it.Great stuff! Original melodylines and hooks. I'm gonna try to to convince my fellow bandmembers to get your song on the setlist. Always good to get that magic spark coming out of your radio!
P.s Dig Nick Curran's Sheena's back in town!
Grereting from Holland.

July 17 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

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