Thursday, November 6, 2008
I used to think magic carpet rides were the stuff of fairy tales (or Steppenwolf), but today I have seen the light! Life experience, as it so often does, has proven me wrong.
Magic carpet rides not only exist, but they are readily available––any time, any day, any place––in the form of music, or more specifically, songs. These melodic, lyrical, and (don't forget!) time-traveling vehicles come in an endless variety of shades, shapes and textures, and the particular one you choose determines your destination. (In light of this new awareness, song selection takes on a whole new meaning!)
"How'd ya figure this out?" you may well ask. (Okay, you didn't ask, but humor me a minute, even if you don't give a rat's rear.)
For several days now, I've been trying to churn out two things: (1) the Christmas program for my ward (congregation) and (2) the annual Christmas Eve story for my family. There have been many stops and starts...well, actually, one stop for every start. In other words, no progress at all. Oh sure, I've got some good notes...some basic ideas...but absolutely no mojo. None. No "magic" of any kind, in fact, and that's a definite no-go. Because Christmas is all about magic.
The dumb part is that I already know exactly what the problem is. I can't seem to get myself in quite the right mood...the right "place." I know the solution, too––a magic (melodic) carpet ride––but I haven't been willing to admit that I need one. Why not? First, because I feel like I should be able to transport myself without assistance to whatever writing "place" I need to visit; and second, because I haven't been willing to play Christmas music to get there. This is not so much a matter of pride, by the way, as it is a wanting to save the joy of Christmas and its carols for December. It's simple. If you start too early, you don't get the same bang for your "songs of Noel" buck. And I selfishly want all the yuletide bang I can get. (Somehow that didn't come out quite right...sorry.)
Anyway, here's the all-too-telling truth. I'm going to have to give in and hitch a ride on (listen to) Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella. And if Jeanette doesn't quite get me there, I guess I'm willing to hop aboard the Coventry Carol...or catch a flight on the Wassail Song. A writer's gotta do what a writer's gotta do, right?
The real deal, putting all my "not-wanting-to-rush-Christmas-song-listening" angst aside, is this: Musical magic carpets and the wild, wacky, wondrous, wistful rides they take us on are the greatest! I even have some favorites. Grazin' in the Grass, for instance, transports me in one, smooth flight to my first year in college, my first real love (now my husband), and Spring. (Resulting mood: elation). I can also ride Love Can Make You Happy or Crystal Blue Persuasion to the same place. (Oddly, Hey Jude, from the identical era, doesn't quite make the trip for me, even though I love that song.)
Oh, shoot. Who am I kidding with my second-string carols playlist? Jeanette? Coventry?? Wassail??? Those songs ain't gonna *fly*! (Agreed, the magic carpet analogy is getting cumbersome; time to sign off.)
Sufficeth to say that I'll probably have to pull out the big guns to get the job done: Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, AND The First Noel. I may even have to jump on Away in a Manger. But I'm not touching O Holy Night with a ten-foot pole until November 28th. End of discussion.