Ode to Joe Plantt

It’s Joe’s fault.

Every so often, I play through my binder of songs, looking specifically for songs written in the same month of years past. I’m not sure why, but I enjoy it. It amazes me to think about where I’ve been, what I’ve struggled with, what I’ve enjoyed, what I was passionate about, et cetera.

But tonight, my startling revelation is that there are no songs of August.

That’s not entirely true. There is one in particular, but it is a very personal therapy sort of song. I don’t think I’ve ever shared it with anyone. I doubt I ever will. And there are a handful of others…but they are Joe Plantt’s fault.

In 2001, I became aware of this young man. I don’t recall that I met him, but that he was a friend of a friend (heh…that’s funny because of the song) and a friend of my brother. There was this incredible story about how he dropped his guitar and snapped the neck, and his solution was, to be sure, duct tape.

I was not nearly so uptight as I am now, in my elder years of almost-thirty, and to be honest with you, he was cute enough that I forgave the impropriety of the duct tape on an instrument. I went home and wrote the most ridiculous two-stanza-ed song I’ve ever heard in my life about Joe Plantt and his guitar, titled “Ode to Joe Plantt.”

When I shared it with my friends, they enjoyed it so much that I began to write these cheesy, short songs about people–or written around some weird statement they’d made (like Rachel, who was telling me about her first car, and said, “It’s nothing fancy–just a four-door, car-car,”).

But the beauty of it (which I hadn’t realized until today) is that several of them were written in August. So not only do I not have any real songs of August…I have to admit that August is the month of the Joe Plantt-inspired songs.

It’s Joe’s fault.

Long Lost

What are your long lost passions?

A long lost friend (who shall remain nameless) asked me recently what my song lyrics are looking like lately. It shocked and embarrassed me.

It shocked me because…nobody really asks me that anymore. Well, John asks what I’ve been doing with music, but he doesn’t specifically ask about lyrics. It just struck me as awkward, and then I remembered that there was a time when many friends and family were asking (regularly) what I was doing with songwriting. It shocked me that this friend asked; and it shocked me that I was shocked.

And then I was embarrassed to realize that I have allowed this once profound passion of mine to simmer on the back burner of my not-very-demanding life. Did I used to love songwriting? Why had I stopped?

Oh, I wrote one this year…about the coffee guy. Kind of. But that was in January. How dry and uninterested I’ve been since then.

My 2:43a.m. resolution is to write a song tomorrow (well, today).

And as a side note, if you’re one of the people I’m writing letters to this week, I may just share the lyrics with you and ask for your opinion.

What are your long lost passions and dreams? Why have you abandoned them?

I’m in love!

Oh man…

I just…I seriously love my guitar.  He makes me feel so talented and beautiful and cherished. I really, really love my guitar. He doesn’t remind me of my failures or my imperfections; he just welcomes me and makes me feel like whatever is on my mind is important. Sigh. What a great instrument.

I just really love him.

And I need to spend more time with him.

Just Another Hymnal

Well, the book sale was wonderful, but mostly a bust. I didn’t find a single book on my list! I did find some goodies, though. And in spite of the fact that I already have several different hymnals, I couldn’t resist the 1941 Lutheran Hymnal in the Music section! She was calling to me, “Sarah! Sarah! Take me home with you!” I’m not embarrassed by my choice. You cannot, as a rule, have too much music.

I was working through the hymnal last night and found several hymns I was unfamiliar with, several that were older than most of the hymns I know. Look at this one:

O gladsome Light, O grace
of God the Father’s face,
the eternal splendor wearing;
celestial, holy, blest,
our Savior Jesus Christ,
joyful in thine appearing.

Now, ere day falleth quite,
we see the evening light,
our wonted hymn outpouring;
Father of might unknown,
thee, his incarnate Son,
and Holy Spirit adoring.

To thee of right belongs
all praise of holy songs,
O Son of God, Life-giver;
thee, therefore, O Most High,
the world doth glorify,
and shall exalt for ever.

This song is from the 3rd century and its author is unknown. It is beautiful. I was astounded that a hymn of the Church could have survived so long. Most of the hymns we sing today are only a few hundred years old–and even those seem ancient to us! But here is a song the Church was singing in the 3rd century, and it blew my mind. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with the bigness of history and of the Church.

It can be so easy to forget that the Church is more vast than right here and right now; that there really is “a cloud of witnesses.” The notion that somehow we are able to sing the same worship and praise that Christians sang in the 3rd century just overwhelmed me with a sense of both my smallness in the scheme of things and also my being surrounded by so many Believers.

It also made me wonder what songs we would add to our hymnals as history unfolds. There has been this incredible transition in some churches, moving away from “hymns” and preferring something more “modern.” But aren’t most hymns “modern” to their time? So what songs would we add to “O For A Thousand Tongues” and “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Doxology”? What songs of adoration will be remembered from the Church today?

Any thoughts?

Pax Domini.


The Waiting

Aaaaaaaah, The Waiting!

So I was driving home, and SmileFM played an old song from The Waiting. It happens to be one of my favorite songs of all time. You can go and listen to it on The Waiting’s myspace page if you want. It’s presently the second song on the list: Hands in the Air. By all means, listen to the others, too! But. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to this song without crying. I’m such a baby.

And oh! I was flooded with memories! The Waiting was, if I remember correctly, at Sonshine Festival the first year that I went. They weren’t at the main stage, but were at the second or third stage along with MXPX and…oh…Sozo, maybe? I cried at Sozo, just so you know, but that’s an entirely different story, and it involves water and instruments. So.Good times.

Anyway, I don’t think Toge and I even intended to see The Waiting perform. I could be wrong. One of us (I won’t say which one of us) had a slight crush on one of the guys from Sozo, and I think we were waiting to see them. Togs–did you know of The Waiting prior to this? At any rate, I was not familiar with them until this concert. I thought they were remotely cool when they did the 500 Miles song, but Todd Olsen settled the matter for me when he played his guitar…behind his back.

That’s right…behind his back. It was the funniest, weirdest, most personable thing I had ever seen from a “musician.” It was a life-changing thought for me–that music could be both soul-searching and fun. And there it was. I was hooked.

I saw The Waiting several years later when I was volunteering at FireUP. In fact, I was as high as the sky that weekend because I had the lucky job of working at their table! WOOHOO! I have a picture somewhere that Toge took of me at their table. Hm…mental note: find the picture.

Anyway, Brad Olsen released a solo album last year, as I understand it. I had no idea. Sorry, Brad. But I will buy it. And I will love it, I’m sure.

But behold–greatness of all greatnesses–The Waiting…has a new album coming out this year! AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

This is me, going fangirlish.

See Jenn? It can happen.

I’m so happy.

Today is such a good day!