11 days left in 2017, 11 tracks on my 2017 CD, "A Message in the Mess." Follow this free, song-a-day countdown. CD available on itunes, spotify and this site.
Man tries, and God laughs, my favorite Yiddish adage. Plans are dangerous since they require so many uncontrollable factors to align for what we want. I never planned that someone I loved would break my heart – who does? Before I let him do that, I’d actually planned to never see this man ever again. I’d planned a song (or at least a verse) to that very effect: “Let me be clear: I never want to see your face again…” That was about as far as I’d written when we got back together.
I enjoyed telling him about the unfinished song. “Pity I had to abandon my work and be wrong and in love,” I teased.
“You should finish it,” he said.
“Finish the song that begins how I never want to see your face again?” I asked.
“Finish it with the truth. Tell the rest of the story.”
That story became “Clear,” the penultimate track on “A Message in the Mess.” Penultimate is one of my favorite words: Second to last. In the final verse of the song, I threw caution to the wind and wrote about our future:
The sky is clear
Sunday morning waking slowly
Making coffee, making plans
Making light of forever
‘cause now we can.
Forever. Man tried and god laughs. Forever … no. Penultimate … yes. Foolish … no. Great plans and great love need reckless belief to stand any chance at all.
What allowed me to record* and continue singing a potentially embarrassing song (about how I was going to live happily ever after with a man who did nothing short of dismantle my heart and hide tiny pieces of it where I will never find them again) is the loophole I didn’t realize I’d left in the plan ... in the last verse … in the future.
I never stipulated in what WAY we would each “make light of forever” on some distant Sunday morning, or with WHO we would be “waking slowly.” That last verse prophesies that we end up happy, not that we end up together. The song’s exploration of the various meanings of “clear” included opportunities to be clear of the past and clear of each other. Making light of forever can be done with happily ever after, but also with closure.
(*The recording, too, required an unanticipated second try before it could be put to bed. A sinus infection worked its way into the many “CL” sounds, and every glottal stop was a little too noticeable. I flew back one last time – Christmas last year – to clear them up.)