Symphony to Just One Girl
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)
I've written many songs about my wife, Janette. This one's to her. It's sort of a summary, a cataloging of how learning to love has made things possible in my life, an autobiographical look at what her love has taught me, allowed me. This one doesn't have all the elements of a good love song-- idealizing, romanticizing, projection, transference. Looking at it that way, the lyrics are probably sufficient to tell the story without additional commentary-- but that's not like me, so...
I was having my morning coffee and surfing through the news on an i-pad when I came across an interesting tidbit on the Huffington Post with the heading: 10 Psychological Studies That Will Change What You Think You Know About Yourself. What better thing in the morning than to lounge around and indulge in a little navel gazing? The “Know Thyself” gambit has always gotten my attention.
Soon I was sitting up reading one that grabbed me. The story's author, Carolyn Gregoire, a features editor at the Huffington Post, was writing about the famous, ongoing 75-years, Harvard Grant study:
“...one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies ever conducted followed 268 male Harvard undergraduates from the classes of 1938-1940 (now well into their 90s) for 75 years, regularly collecting data on various aspects of their lives. The universal conclusion? Love really is all that matters, at least when it comes to determining long-term happiness and life satisfaction.
The study's longtime director, psychiatrist George Vaillant, told the Huffington Post that there are two pillars of happiness: "One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away." For example, one participant began the study with the lowest rating for future stability of all the subjects and he had previously attempted suicide. But at the end of his life, he was one of the happiest. Why? As Vaillant explains, “He spent his life searching for love.”
The “-ing” end on search is important. It's active. That's what Symphony to Just One Girl is about. I have passed (nearly) a lifetime searching for love. I say passed because the French language taught me you can't spend time, only pass it. I searched for love because early on I had determined this was the only possible path to happiness. Discovering music along the way was like discovering a magnifying glass. I now also had a good tool for the job.
I discovered love was not just to be found in one place, though that was a good start. It could be found in all places. I sing a lot about that. John Lennon sang about that. Rumi wrote about that. Jesus talked about that. In fact he was pretty unequivocal about the subject when he said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
Many of us start off feeling we are that “lowest rated” person described in the Harvard Grant study. We have our tales of what went wrong, how we were broken, what couldn't be fixed, whose fault it was and who should be blamed. In my life, the active searching for love changed this inner dialogue. My job is not to tell people what to think or what they ought to do. My job, as an artist and as a thinking person, is simply to witness my own life and “report in” as honestly as I can: Love works.
“Gone now are the melodies I used to sing to save the world.” Yup. That was me. What I discovered while chasing rainbows was they always moved just a little further away. Eventually, I found something that did the opposite. When I sent a preview of the Did You cd to Minann Stephens Black she wrote, “I like that Symphony to One Girl song”. Hmmm. I guess this is a romantic song after all. Thanks, Minann, for naming the tune.