Too many medical fears – my wife’s recent close call after contracting a dangerous infection on top of everything else – and financial woes threw my motivation to write fiction into a tar pit.
The fear that comes with uncertainty and morbidity takes a toll on anyone’s psyche and I was just another one of its recipients. Creative energy was quietly replaced by dark observations and the subsequent frustrations of the world’s current political state. Mindless entertainment and mobile device games passed the time between work and family obligations. Sleep became more and more desirable to pass the days when it was an option. A few too many sips of bourbon helped ensure that.
Looking back, I can point out a plethora of reasons I ended up here, but what’s the point? All I can do is recognize where I am and set a new direction. Wallowing in self-pity and introspective pondering won’t accomplish anything, except, perhaps, provide a character trait in an new story.
Today I found this incredible discomfort ripping at my heart. I loathe the idea of complacency and living the mundane, and yet, I found myself there. An overwhelming urge to write something – anything – is pushing me to write this self-reflective piece now. So I’m going with it. When it’s complete, a new world begins.
Perhaps 30 Songs for November was a little ambitious. When I started the month, I had no anticipation of the numerous events that would occur that brought me to today. It was a transformative month and a welcome one at that. Perhaps the most important event of the moment is the return of my old day job, which kicks off later today.
So today’s song, another all-time favorite of mine, is the appropriately titled “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. You have no doubt heard some version of this song since it reached mainstream popularity in the motion picture Shrek, and it has been covered by numerous artists over the years. Cohen wrote “Hallelujah” and recorded it in 1984. Cohen wrote as many as 80 verses that have been swapped in and out of the different versions over the years.
The video below is from a live performance in 2008 at the Montreal Jazz Festival at which Cohen and his band performed an extended version of the song.
Another one from the Dropkick Murphys. “The Season’s Upon Us” is their take on a Christmas song about a dysfunctional family holiday gathering I bet most of all of us can identify with. All in good fun, of course. Let the holiday season commence!
Going back to my year of birth again with “Search and Destroy” from Iggy and the Stooges. I love this song. I love the raw garage rock sound of the guitars, totally my personal of playing when I used to play in bands.
I saw Iggy Pop perform at The Globe Theater in Norwalk, CT, my hometown, in 1995. Incredible show! Most every person I knew from around town was there, including some good friends and my wife Victoria, we were engaged then. The whole group of us stood up front for the whole show.
Iggy jumped off stage to perform on the floor in the audience and he came right up to my friend Jason Mones and I for about two minutes. I towered over the guy as he hunched his shoulders and hung his head over the mic held in both hands, singing and moving rhythmically with the music barely a foot from me. I wish I could remember which song it was.
Outside the theater the first thing Jason said to me was, “we danced with Iggy Pop!” It was a great night.
Today is about renewing strength and energy. About standing up in the face of adversity, oppression, and fear. It’s a personal need to stand up and charge forward for the sake of health and family. It’s a societal need to rise against terror.
“Stand Up” by the Street Dogs conveys such a message on a few levels. The back story to the three vocalists you hear in the song represents, on a small-scale, the ability to overcome differences and coming together.
Mike McColgan, the lead singer of the Street Dogs, was the lead singer for and a founding member of the Dropkick Murphys along with Ken Casey. McColgan’s left the band in 1998 to join the Boston Fire Department, though he started forming the Street Dogs in 2002. The next year they recorded their first album, Savin Hill, which includes “Stand Up” with vocals by Dropkick Murphys vocalists Ken Casey and McColgan’s replacement Al Barr.