Tag Archives: jackson browne

Thicker than Pea Soup

It’s foggy today.

I’m working at home and looking out the window I can still, at almost 11:00 am, barely see across my property. The schools were delayed two hours to allow the daylight to show its face so it would be easier for the buses to get to get the kids safely to the classrooms. I drove my kids in and visibility was probably about 30-50 yards.  We get lots of foggy days here, especially this time of year when Mother Nature seems to be frantically trying to figure out if it should be sunny and warm or cloudy and cold, raining or snowing, wet or dry, changing her mind sometimes every few hours.

But this morning she chose it to be foggy.

Thick fog…

Thicker than pea soup…

Does anyone really say that anymore? “Man, the fog this morning was so thick… it was thicker than pea soup!”

More importantly, does anyone really even eat pea soup? I mean, seriously, is there anything more disgusting than pea soup? Maybe the expression should be “that’s more disgusting than pea soup!”

“Hey, I have an idea, let’s take a bunch of split peas, whatever a split pea is… cook them up to oblivion, then mash them up into a puree with some water and salt and pepper and try to pass it off as soup. We can throw in a few cubes of ham and maybe some onions and things so that people won’t think they are eating the most disgusting food that anyone could ever possibly think of.”

Look, if you’re going to try to win me over with your split pea soup recipes in the comments, it’s a moot point, my mind is made up already. I mean, I love most veggies, beans, legumes, cooked, fresh, raw, in soup, in stir fry, whatever. Not a fan of Brussels sprouts or the many varieties of squash or mushrooms. Other than that I’m mostly opened minded. I like soup too, chicken broth based especially. There nothing that says “hey buddy, it’s okay to wrap up in your little blankie with your pajamas and bunny socks on and stare at the TV” than a bowl of chicken soup.

But split pea soup?

I learned early on in my life, probably about 1-2 years old, that my mother was going to sit in front of me with little jars of mashed up food and try to shove it into my mouth. Sometimes there were even flying spoons and airplane noises involved. But it didn’t take long to figure out that the pears and the applesauce were the bomb! But a spoonful of mashed up green mush… my jaw would be “locked up tighter than a drum, tighter than Pandora’s box.”

“Sealed up tighter than a brand new pickle jar at a Thanksgiving Feast.”

By the way, that reminds me, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I may not always realize it but I have a ton to be thankful for… an amazing wife and kids and family, loyal friends, a beautiful old home, a job, four really cool goats and a few cats, a little bit of writing talent, my health, my family’s health, and of course all you great blogging pals. Did I mention an amazing wife and kids?

I’m thankful for the Jackson Browne CD that is playing in the background right now and in terms of entertainers, the one artist in the world that has had a more profound impact on my life than any other.

Sometimes I have to push through the fog to figure that all out and sometimes that fog can be “as thick as pea soup.”

But not today…

Today that is as clear as day!

Hope you all have a fabulous Holiday filled with turkey and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and stuffing and whatever else you eat on Thanksgiving… even if that includes pea soup!

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This Song’s For You

 I want to write a song.  I have wanted to write a song for years.  I tried writing a song about my Mom when she passed away 8 years ago but I couldn’t find the words.  I want to write a love song for my wife, a song that we can sing together and share for the rest of our lives.  I’d like to write a song about my son, about what a great kid he is and how we are best friends even before being father and son.  Or better yet, I want to write a song for my daughter, a Daddy’s girl song.  I want her to finish growing up and have her own song, written only about her, that she can tell her friends her Dad used to sing to her, that she can sing to herself when she is feeling down, that I can sing to her at her wedding.  She is 13 now and I am running out of time.

I don’t know why songwriting is so difficult.  I can sit here at my keyboard and knock out blog post after blog post about things happening in my life, about humor, about emotions, about happiness and sadness.  I can write about these important people in my life, word after word, line after line, paragraph after paragraph.  I can write about work and play and life and death.  The words emerge easily once I start tapping the keyboard.  Driving home from work a blog post idea will pop into my head and I’ll have it “written” before I even park and get out of the car.  It seems to come naturally and each day I strive to find something interesting to write about, a post better than the day before, a topic that is meaningful to my readers and to my family and especially to myself.

But I haven’t been able to write a song.  I’ve tried… I’ve sat with my guitar and struggled to come up with some basic chord progression and a melody that has some appeal.  I’ve tried to get the lyrics to flow through my head, just like the blog posts do now.  So far it hasn’t clicked.  The inspiration is there but the ability to put it “down on paper” continually eludes me.  Maybe it’s because song lyrics tend to have to be rhythmic and mysterious and vague.  Maybe it’s because I am trying to write the lyrics and the melody at the same time.  Maybe I’m just trying too hard to write that perfect song, to not fail… because the stakes are so high.  It’s like, this is my only shot, this is the song that my daughter will take with her into adulthood, or this is the song that my wife and I will sing to each other as we sit in rocking chairs with gray hair and wrinkled skin and reading glasses perched on our noses.  Damn, that is a lot of pressure!  It has to be right, it’s has to be special, it has to be flawless.

I found this quote from Jackson Browne, my absolute, super-fragilistic, all-time, favorite, hero musician and singer-songwriter.

“Self-discovery in songwriting, bringing something forth that’s instructive to yourself – some of the best songs that you will ever write are the ones where you didn’t have to think about any of that stuff, but nonetheless that’s what’s happening in the song.”

I think what I hear him saying is… don’t try too hard, don’t think too hard about what you are writing, just let the words develop into something magical.  Find the inspiration from the events in your life, the relationships, the experiences, both good and bad, then set them aside and let the lyrics appear on the page.  Maybe it becomes easier with each song that one writes, just as these blog posts have seemingly become easier to write with each passing day.   Maybe I just need to set aside some time, be alone, and try to make it happen. 

You know I’m not one for New Years Resolutions.  Perhaps finally writing a song should be my New Years resolution for 2011.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be from the heart.

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