Monday, February 18, 2008

Love and Music and Neuroses and Purpose

Okay, I'm groggy today. But I do hope you out there with S.O.'s had a lovely Valentine's smoochfest. And those who don't have a romantic interest at the moment still had a beautiful time with loved ones of all sorts. I meant to post the following link on the 14th:

If you are or were someone who enjoyed the music of the late Dan Fogelberg, his widow, Jean Fogelberg, allowed one of the songs Dan wrote as a private Valentine's Day gift to be offered for purchase in order to raise funds for charity. (That's Dan and Jean at left).

Dan died in Dec of 2007 from prostrate cancer. I was bummed on top of bummage (I had been in a depression then). Dan was one of my fave musicians in those years when we attach strongly to music (teens.) He's the only singer/songwriter/musician to whom I wrote a fan letter. It was brief: a couple of sentences, one a Gibran quote--A great singer is he who sings our silences. I sealed it with red wax. (I was a teen!)

I never got a reply.

I still have all his recordings, some in triplicate (the album, the cd, the cd back-up just in case). My husband learned to play some of the songs on guitar to please me; and when he plays, I sing along.

Dan's output up to the early 80's holds a special place among my fave music that's perfect for getting nostalgic and for singing. I remember the angst-riddled 16-years-old Mir lying in bed and listening to some finely-rendered lyrics and sighing.

Well, I only saw him perform live once (1998), and he was still handsome and in good form, though his soaring high notes didn't sweep way up there like they used to.

And he's gone. But you can hear "Sometimes a Song" and support prostate cancer research. “Sometimes A Song” is available from iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and

Frank Zappa and Jonny Ramone both, like Dan, succumbed to prostrate cancer. James Brown battled it while alive, also Harry Belafonte, and Stephen Stills (another guy whose voice I have much loved) is battling it now. (He had surgery in January.)


I find that my flaws and neuroses do tend to fall into my main characters: depression, phobias, that old sense of being a misfit, reclusiveness, insecurities.

I'm not alone. Carole McD writes about it in her blog entry Elegant Neurosis:

So yeah....everything...and I mean EVERYTHING....that goes on in my spiritual, physical, familial, and psychological life ends up in my stories. That's what makes my stories beautiful, i think. Not the beauty of the words, but the honesty and the self-revealing of my soul.

But dang! When I'm writing these things, I have to be very careful. At a storytelling conference, I once heard a storyteller say, "Storytelling is my most elegant use of my neurosis." That's what I aim for....elegance. Yeah, I want my neurosis out there in the book. But I want them to be so wonderfully rendered (nice word that, like clarified oil out of gross fat) that only the purity of soul and the soul's need for God and clarity can shine forth.


And a quote for something on my mind the last month plus:

"Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. It defines what you do and what you don't do. Your purpose becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren't."
--Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

1 comment:

CaroleMcDonnell said...

I soooo loved Daniel Fogelberg. Especially Longer. Would listen to him a lot back in the day.

Was sad to hear he had died.

Wow, thanks for linking to my post.