Getting What You Love


I recently watched a few videos in which young men recorded themselves listening to The Beatles A Day in the Life for the first time. I have been intimately familiar with this song for so long I have to remind myself that there are people who’ve never heard it; in fact, there are more and more born every day. So watching these young people discover it was fun as it allowed me to have a new experience of a song I had memorized from first note to last.

Except part of what they were discovering were the song’s lyrics. If you’re unfamiliar, A Day in the Life begins, “I read the news today, oh boy/About a lucky man who made the grade.” The key phrase in that opening couplet (in my opinion), is “oh boy.” It tells you a lot about the song’s point of view. It also – again, in my opinion – tells you that you’re not listening to a story, though it sort of sounds like a story.

Unfortunately, the song discoverers all believed they were hearing a story, and each tried throughout his video to make sense of that story. I wanted to crawl through the screen and teach them about poetry and abstraction and existentialism. I wanted them to get it, not because The Beatles needed more fans, but because listening to their misunderstanding stirred an old loneliness in me – that feeling of isolation that comes when the people I loved didn’t love what I loved.

What I love is so personal to me, so important to me, how could another person get me if they if the stuff I turned to for inspiration and meaning was boring or made no sense to them? This is a good question, but the answer is not that I should only hang around with people whose taste I approve of, or that we are all ultimately unknowable to one another. In all the interviews with all the writers I’ve done, I’ve found that while love can take limitless forms – from suspense to memoir to poetry – the friendly, enthusiastic, creative energy that is love itself always looks the same. I know it when I see it, and if I let myself, I see it everywhere.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.

Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence.
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