It's true that inspiration arises from everywhere.
As part of the making of The Tag Hollow Sessions, I launched my second Generous Friends "Become My Record Label Campaign". Friends, fans and family alike all pooled together to help fund my last two projects so we didn't incur $30,000 in debt. The concept of crowd-funding did not originate with Kickstarter. Artists have had patrons for centuries. Many musicians, myself included, offer incentives for giving, ranging from pre-releases, signed copies of CDs, all the way up to "Executive Producer for a Day" packages with recording studio access for the making of the album. Imagining the incentives was a heap of fun! My favorite two options were a house concert and a song commission. Being a people person, I love the personal ones, where I get to hear human stories and step into kitchens and smile and give hugs and stuff.
Upon donating to the new record and being given the options for her Generous Friends gift, my cousin Ali jumped at the chance for me to write a song inspired by her. (Side-note: Ali may or may not have harbored a decade's long streak of envy due to the fact that her husband's quick wit inspired not only a song, but the title track to my second record, Teeth-marks on my Tongue). It's not an easy task, writing a song for someone. There's a lot on the line. And you typically start with no lines. Having little time restraints placed on me for delivering the finished product, I thought for a few months and tossed around ideas in my head. Ali had a great blog at the time, and I was a regular reader. She is easily among the best-humored people I know. And bonus, we're related!
One evening, Ali posted a blog about her busy weekend. She and her husband, Shawn, had been involved in a wedding and also a funeral. One of Shawn's colleagues had died, a wife and mother. Please pardon if I fumble a few details, it's been awhile. The husband shared at the funeral. He spoke about the little things and nuisances he missed, and how he always took for granted that there would be another tomorrow. Ali wrote it better than I can, having been there. But if memory serves, she talked about their long weekend and the crazy things life throws at you, but that in the light of this woman's death, they all paled in comparison. She ended her blog by saying something like: So tonight I'll just hold Shawn and the kids a little closer... Just in case there aren't anymore tomorrows. And a song was born.
I gotta tell you. This past year has been nothing if not a brutal barrage of hard things for us. We are more than ready for a reprieve, and we watch the horizon in belief that this season, it too shall pass. Through all the valleys, we have had our tomorrows threatened. That has changed me. As a Mama, a wife, a woman, a friend, a stranger. All of it.
The world is crazy-town right now y'all. Crazy. Town. And whatever side of the fence you stand on, all indications say you are convinced yours is the absolute right way. So many people are hurting. So many people are hurting people. The heaviness is palpable. The sorrows are all but tangible at this point.
I don't know about you, but I think it's time to tear down the fences. I think it's time for gratitude. To SEE each other. To not only listen, but hear. A laying down of judgments. Radical kindness. Revolutionary generosity of spirit and resources. Time is precious, friends. And so easily wasted.
I'll step off my milk crate now. But do me one favor, will you? Hold the ones you love a little closer today... Just in case there aren't anymore tomorrows.
I'd be grateful if you'd have a listen to the song and share with others if it speaks to you. From The Tag Hollow Sessions, "Just In Case."
Listen here: kcclifford.bandcamp.com/track/just-in-case