Recently, a social media friend and fellow songwriter posted a general question: how important is it that anyone listens to the songs we write?
I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately, and I can say this: I am compelled to write. Each of my songs tells a story about something that matters to me, be it an emotion like love or sorrow; or a human condition like poverty or homelessness; or an issue like the environment or the tragedy or violence; or the glory of God and our world; or even just having a bit of fun. I write because I want to express my thoughts on the subject matter. Because I have to. Because I can’t not write.
Certainly, I hope that my completed songs are heard – that someone actually listens, and connects with what I’ve said. That they hear the story I wanted to tell, feel the emotion I wanted to convey and evoke, are inspired to take action on issues that matter to us as people. That’s why, even though I’ve never felt compelled to perform, I have and do – live, and recording and posting to YouTube, my webpage, social media and elsewhere around the Web. Because I do hope that the connection might be made.
But, what if no one listens?
In thinking about it, I’ve come to realize that, even if there was never any chance anyone would ever hear my songs, I’d still be compelled to write them. For me, the drive to speak, to create, is the primary motivator. The hope that someone will listen, and hear, and respond, is surely there – but if that possibility did not exist, I’d still write.
Because I have to. Because I can’t observe and experience the world around us, and not comment upon what I see and feel and believe.
Because I can’t not write.