Who would have ever predicted the strangeness of March 2020? Without looking too deeply into the crazy Covid-19 virus panic-demic and all of its ramifications—health, politics and economics—I want to focus instead on the unexpected lovely byproducts of being homebound.
Upon returning from a Florida Keys vacation, Paul and I were asked to self-quarantine for two weeks. During this time, I've felt more connection than usual with fellow at-home friends on FaceBook. I decided it was a good time to create a music video out of my newest song.
Last month, I wrote and recorded "This Is Home" for entry in Nebraska Furniture Mart's anthem contest. Song contests are never my favorite thing, for lots of reasons. But I set my natural resistance aside and let the $25,000 first prize motivate me to sit down at the piano.
Let me just say that money is not a great muse. I played the first draft for my husband and my good friend Alicia Anderson, who is also a songwriter. Neither one looked inspired. Alicia is too kind to let criticism fly freely, but I can sense when something hasn't really struck a chord with my soul sister. Paul, on the other hand, is too honest to hold back, and he clearly indicated that the song fell short. It just wasn't there yet.
With the contest deadline looming, I had already set up studio time for the following Monday. I still had a few days to infuse the song with raw heart (the missing element).
Fast forward to the dentist's chair. I always say yes to nitrous oxide during procedures when it's recommended. That day, I'd been working on the lyrics in my head just before my appointment, and the words floated along with me into the calmly-removed environment inside my head. During a break while Dr. Parsons waited for an instrument, he let me grab my phone and I jotted down some lines I didn't want to forget. I'm sure I must have appeared loony tapping away on my Notes app...but I didn't care. I wasn't about to lose my ideas to the ether, just to avoid embarrassment.
Finally, the bridge was installed in my mouth and Doc announced, "I'm going to have to shut the party off now." Afterward, I explained to his assistant what I'd been doing on my phone. I won't credit laughing gas for fixing my song, but hey, partial credit where it's due. This is the part I wrote while "under:"
Little hands, little feet
Little whispered words as they're drifting off to sleep
And one day, through their eyes
These moments will be tomorrow's memories
How the sun set and rose
Through their windows
The moon and the stars glowed while they slept
This is home
This is home
Leave the chaos outside
In here we can hide
This is home
The next Monday, I picked up my drummer son, Josiah, and we headed to Red Cat Recording in tiny Peck, Kansas. Lane Turgeon joined us with his amazing bass guitar skills. Luke Wallace mixed and mastered "This Is Home" and emailed the finished MP3. But the song really came alive when two other elements were added:
1) Covid-19 isolation in our homes
2) Permission to draw from the Photo files of my FaceBook friends for images
I hope you enjoy the final product. It didn't win the contest, but it's been a rewarding experience every step of the way (you might even say I had a gas). You can find it on my YouTube channel:
This might go without saying, if you already know me and my approach to art and life...but I'm going to say it anyway. I don't undertake any creative task alone, without my Creator. Extra prayer went into this song, as I struggled to make it work. I have nothing of value to offer, except what He gives me. All humor aside, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it."