In Life - Debriefed, Thoughts on Writing

“It’s like riding a bike.”

This week, one of my best friends and earliest collaborators came to Nashville to “write.”  I put “write” in quotes because the real purpose of the visit was to hang out, catch up, unwind, unload, laugh, cry, eat too much, and hopefully write something.  Over the past three decades, he and I had written about thirty songs together. He wrote lots more without me. And a big bunch of those songs made a real impact on the Church over the years.

But now, he was wondering if he would ever write again.

You see, some time back, my  friend took what he thought would be a brief detour from his songwriting in order to work in a church music ministry. Only, the brief detour turned into several years. Not so suddenly, he found himself completely removed from writing. Now he wanted to write again, but didn’t know if he could. His confidence and enthusiasm were gone, replaced by doubt and uncertainty.

“What if I fail?,” you say to yourself.  “I might take a header over the handlebars, and rip my britches in front of God and everybody.  How embarrassing would that be? Maybe I’m better off not trying.”

I looked over some of his unfinished writing lyrics. He took heart that I didn’t laugh out loud at what he’d written, and he was pumped (not offended) when I pulled one aside and said, “You know, this isn’t horrible.”  (I told you, his confidence was down.)

Then, over the next day or so, we hammered his lyric into a finished song. A good song, in my humble opinion.  (That’s always a plus.) Yes, he might’ve been a bit wobbly at first. But he quickly regained the old muscle memory. By the time we finished the song, he seemed like the collaborator I knew so well from years past.

There’s that familiar breeze in your face. “I’ve been here before,” you tell yourself.  “I’m not gonna fall down and crash.  I can do this.”

A lot of good came from my friend’s visit.  We laughed. We bragged about our kids. We agreed that it’s easier to be a grandfather than to be a father.  We closed the gap on a lot years. But most important, my friend drove back home knowing he is still a writer.

He got back on the bike.

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