Emptying the dishwasher can inspire a song

One evening I was emptying the dishwasher and noticed a chipped plate. As I was putting the glasses away, I noticed that we no longer had a full set of matching glasses. When we got married a decade earlier, our registry included full sets of dishes and glasses so for awhile our cupboards did, too. But as time passed, glasses broke and plates got chipped.

That inspired the first verse for this next song, “Glass Shatters.”

Mismatched glasses, place settings on the table
We talk about replacing them someday when we are able
Years ago they were all so shiny and new
In our earlier days when they made their debut

When I used to break a glass (or bowl or crystal dish) and it shattered all over the floor, I used to get so angry. Partly because I likely wouldn’t go out and replace it and we’d be down another glass and partly because it takes so much time to clean up and I worried that I wouldn’t find it all and somebody would step on it. But I’d like to think I mellowed about stuff like that because in the scheme of things, it’s not really that big of a deal.
What’s more important is the people around the table and not whether the tableware matches. (Although I still worry about missing pieces of glass when I’m cleaning it up.)

But glass shatters, you learn what matters
You pick up the fragments and sometimes you bleed
Crystal crashes, hits the floor and smashes
You may not get what you want, but you get what you need

As I was writing the song, I thought back to before our wedding when we were picking out items for our registry – those idealistic times when we thought that we’d have time to fondue. We took so much time walking through the housewares department to pick out the pieces for our kitchen. This glass or that glass? That set of plates or this one? As if any of those pieces would last forever. (I suppose it’s a good thing when the marriage outlives the dishware, right?)

Those memories inspired the next verse:

Bridal checklist to adorn your new nest
Embarking on a journey to a new reality
Anticipation for a new beginning
All the while spinning toward your new destiny

The chorus changes a little bit the second time around, addressing the expectations of a bride. I find it a little bit cynical, as if the older woman in the first verse is sending a warning to the bride: “It’s not all roses, honey. You’ll learn that someday.”

‘Cause glass shatters, you’ll learn what matters
You’ll pick up the fragments and sometimes you’ll bleed
Crystal crashes, hits the floor and smashes
Indulge in expectations, but there are no guarantees

The third verse moves way into the future, when all the plates and dishes are mismatched but the older, wiser woman doesn’t care because her loved ones are around the table.

Mismatched glasses, place settings on the table
Appreciate the moments as long as you are able
Years from now things may not be shiny and new
But there will be other treasures shining ’round you

When I wrote this song, I was really proud of it because I was trying a new strumming technique and although I use this strumming throughout the whole song without any variation AT ALL, I felt like there was enough melody variation between the verses and the chorus that it didn’t matter.

When I brought this song to the songwriting workshop, it was noted that the song doesn’t appear to be in sequence – it seems to start in the present then goes back in time to a bride and then moves to the future and it was suggested that I switch it so it goes in order. Also to change the second “Mismatched glasses, place settings on the table” since I use that same line in the first verse. All valid points. I really value hearing their opinions as it gives me a different perspective. To me, it made perfect sense – the first verse was autobiographical, the second verse was talking to a young bride and the third verse was talking about an older woman in the future, but apparently that wasn’t clear to a listener who is expecting to hear a little story in the song.

In retrospect, I still like the song, especially the chorus, but would like to go back to it and make some changes – including adding some musical variation.

Funnily enough, this song has more listens on Soundcloud than any of my other songs – to date, nearly 766 listens. Although initially I was really happy about that, I soon realized that a wrestling song has the same name and that most of my “listens” were probably people mistakenly clicking on my song and they likely didn’t even actually listen to it. Oh well.


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