It’s Just a Song (Not an Autobiography)

Listening to David Gray while we made pancakes together I found myself wondering about some of the things he believes.

photo by ilco makes no sense because I know writers of all kinds have their characters or the voice of their song saying or doing things that aren’t necessarily aligned with their core beliefs. While Web Martin and Jake Calcutta are more like me than they ought to be, I know I’ve written things in my songs that aren’t beliefs I put into practice every day. In fact, the more I allow myself to put words in my character’s mouths or express opinions in my songs which aren’t my own, the more depth and breadth my writing will take on and possibly the more I will understand people who think and feel and say those things.

Reading the entire collected works of Rex Stout or Raymond Chandler may teach us something about their views on life. Listening to everything Van Morrison ever wrote might tell us what he believes.

But not necessarily.

Because writing is a way to take our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs out, examine them, twist them like a Rubik’s cube and see what it is exactly that we think and feel and believe, sometimes there will be adjustments.

I have written things which have led me to change what I believe. I wish I could give you an example right now. When one comes to me, I’ll share it. But I’m not the first writer to make the claim that we don’t really know what we believe until we’ve written it out and read it for ourselves.

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