Middle of the Morning
Author: Robert Force
Date/Studio: 2013 Synergy, Port Townsend, WA
Engineer: Neville Pearsall
Producer: Robert Force
Original Release: Did You (BSR151)
Current Release: Did You (BSR151)
My wife, Janette, has been the love of my life for forty years. She is my muse. I mean this in the very real sense of when I think of her and of our lives together, she is at the foundation of my having come to know and trust love. These are easy words to write and hard words to have lived by. I sing a lot about love. I believe in love. I believe in the day in day out work of maintaining and living love.
In my songwriting I try to be as honest as I can about whatever it is I am feeling in my immediate life. It's easy to make up songs telling people what they ought to do. I think that's bad songwriting. It's a lot harder to look at those “easy” answers in the context of your own life. Janette gets embarrassed when I sing songs about her but being in this marriage is the center of my experience.
As a young folk singer I wrote about war and politics. When the politics of war came around again and again in my life, I no longer wrote about it. Music was a way to establish what I believed for myself. If it hadn't changed, there was no way to write about it from a different perspective. I did write about looking for love. That was age appropriate. I also learned other people's songs.
As a father I wrote and sang about dancing bears, old hound dogs, benign space monsters, about how much I liked to play “that ol' dulcimer” and what it felt like in our Blaine Street house on the day before the night before Christmas. I sang to my boys Dakotah and Sam and to my daughter, Katie. (They would shrink back into their car seats when we drove up to a McDonald's and I sang their order in a very bad Italian accent.) I also wrote about being in love. That was still age appropriate.
As a grandfather, I wrote about my granddaughter, Molly. I wrote about answering the questions that have been with me my whole life except this time I could ask myself, “Did I go and do and be what I thought I could?” from the perspective of a full life, having now been on the planet longer than my father was. That's a whole different sense of perspective. I write about the passing of friends and how much they influenced me, keeping them alive in song. And I still write about love.
First Corinthians 13:11 was on my mind when I wrote this song for Janette. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child.” I am not sure about owning up to the rest the verse yet of having put away the childish things. But it's clear to me now, having lived long enough to appreciate the fact, like the riddle of the Sphinx, we live in cycles of time.
Many songs are about the end of something or the beginning of something. I wanted to write about being in the middle of something. I'm not done yet. Some things I've barely got started. It's like the joke, “Have you lived here your whole life? – Not yet!” I am in the middle of being in love with Janette Elizabeth. Sure, it is a personal love song but I believe it does more than just go all puppy-eyed. A good song invites others to transfer their own experiences.
We all know that girl, whether we are the one courting or the one being courted. She stands there in funny red shoes, the sun streams through her hair, a radiant and mischievous smile lightly laughs around the edges of her mouth and slowly slips into her eyes. And that's the same girl who in the early morning lies in a sea of silver hair a few eye blinks later.
Cat fur that won't disappear, sand from the beach, birthdays, the passing of parents, the bannister that's never gets finished, friends, shoe boxes full of kid photos smiling because they KNOW you don't know what they're up to-- you can see it in their eyes-- the same crinkle they got from mom. That's the moment I am in the middle of loving for the rest of my life. Happy. Lucky. Grateful.