This Land is Your Land. America the Beautiful. Amazing Grace. Land of Hopes and Dreams. Here Comes the Sun. Lovely Day. Better Days. Let the Sunshine In. Feeling Good. Undivided
This was the score that played over the course of two days last week as our democracy witnessed a peaceful transfer of power without further incidence of the uncivil war we find ourselves trying to end.
The titles themselves - to say nothing of the lyrics or performances that movingly brought them to life - brim with hope and aspiration.
In what he describes as his “hopeful little book,” How to Write One Song, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco offers a helpful primer on how to literally write one song. But it also allows for a much broader definition of what constitutes a song. It is a call for us to love the things we create so that they might love us back. Repeatedly he references the experience of a child laying on a carpet coloring. It is to create without self-judgement. To make something that we can feel good about simply because we created it.
Songs and poems are oft interchangeable. Anyone who listened to Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb would readily agree. I can only imagine the degree of care that went into writing and delivering those verses. Her love for the process perhaps only matched by the love returned to her from those who listened. It was infectious in the best possible way.
Each day, in our words and our actions, we are putting short songs or poems out into the world. Imagine if we each could see the titles of these songs for the last week, last month, last year.
What would it say about our life? Would the list be as hopeful and aspirational as the one listed above?
There has been much reason for sadness, frustration, anger and anxiety. This is not to diminish them. Rather it is to say that we have some agency in our choices in how we respond. Will we write songs that reflect who and how we want to be? Or ones that only vent and reflect the worst of our fears and frustration?