Not long after I left my job of 17 years, I thought about the people that worked in the office buildings. Not the co-workers in my company, who I still considered friends, but those who shared our office building. The woman who worked down the hall and often looked worried, the man who paced the hallway speaking anxiously into his cell phone, the woman who cleaned the bathrooms.
I realized that although I didn’t know their names, I saw them on a regular basis over the years and besides the anxious talker who never made eye contact, we exchanged pleasantries as we passed each other in the hall. That was the basis for this next song. The idea was also one that I had decades ago, but I never really finished that song so I took that idea and moved forward with it.
We comment on the weather as we pass in the hall
To our respective desks, we don’t know each other at all
Hours turn to days, your face part of the landscape
Until one morning you are gone
So many faces in all these places
Memory erases and fades away
We all leave traces in all these spaces
Our paths may cross again someday
I wondered if other people also felt this way and if they noticed when somebody that they would see regularly for years vanishes from the hallways.
After you left, I realized I don’t know your name
Only your smile is imprinted in my brain
Where did you go, I know my questions come too late
I hesitated, you moved on
I also marveled at how many people come in and out of our lives and how special it is when you meet someone who develops into a friend. Sometimes it’s the timing, sometimes it’s the circumstances, but there are those people who you feel an instant connection to and become a part of each other’s lives and others disappear once the circumstances change.
I think there’s a spiritual element to this concept. That everything happens for a reason and people are in your lives for a reason. Sometimes it’s to help each other grow or get through a challenging time and after the mission is complete, you drift apart.
That’s one reason why Facebook is so weird. You become “friends” during the time you’re actively in each other’s lives and then one person moves on from the job or the school or whatever situation brought you together and yet you continue to remain in touch long after the friendship has faded.
I still appreciate these connections because I value the people who have been part of my life and enjoy keeping that connection intact, but at the same time I don’t have enough bandwidth to actually maintain the friendships, I only watch from a distance and occasionally like or comment on one of their posts. But for many of them, if I were to actually see them in person – like at a high school reunion – I’d enjoy catching up with them in real life.
Maybe someday, we will see each other again
Across the table of a mutual friend
We’ll say ‘I think we’ve met before, though I don’t know when’
And then we’ll talk ’til dawn
Songwriting journey notes
I received pretty good feedback on this when I brought this to my songwriting workshop. It starts out with fingerpicking and goes to strumming for the chorus, which was the first time I tried using both in one song.
The producer said he really liked it because it sounded fresh and different. I was happy to hear that! I realize that sometimes you may try to write songs to sound like what’s popular, but if you create a song that sounds like what’s already out there, then you’re not following your own style and why would somebody else want a song that sounds like it’s already been done?
But at the same time, when you’re not an experienced songwriter and you’re trying to improve your craft, you want to examine songs by successful songwriters to find out what worked for them.
It’s definitely a challenge. I look back at some of my older songs and have a better idea of what improvements are needed, but I still don’t know if they’re any good. Will they forever be only heard by me and my family (when I sing them around the house) or will they someday have a larger impact? Will they entertain, inspire or make someone feel better? Will they have a life outside my head? Or will they sit here forever in Cyberspace on this blog and be silent on SoundCloud? I will continue writing because that’s what I do and will continue to try to improve my songwriting because we should always strive to improve in everything, but I do wonder what the ultimate outcome will be.