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Getting On That Train (Living With a Non-linear Mind, Prologue)

Sometimes my mind just runs along all on its own, and I couldn’t tell you what I’m thinking about if you asked me.

And there are moments when that rambling mind grabs up many of its assorted ideas and weaves them together into a new whole, something special, that was not there before.

The ideas conglomerate and shift until they make a new picture, or a new set of pictures, like a kaleidoscope. And when that happens, I often feel like I have to go with it. I have to get on that train, and take those ideas where they are going to go. For a couple of reasons.

First off, if I do let go of that new set of ideas, I’m taking a risk. Something might happen to scramble them all – I might get distracted and forgetful, and just drop them all and they’ll lie shattered in a confused pile for a long time before I can take them up again.

More likely, though, I just won’t be able to concentrate on anything else. My mind will have grabbed that set of ideas, and if I don’t go with it I will find it difficult to concentrate. My dreams will be full of confusion and shifting scenes that I can’t keep track of. My conversations will tail off and people will wonder if I’m having a stroke.

So I have to, if you will forgive the cliche’, seize the moment. If everything has come together into a complete picture, I have to somehow record that assemblage of thought. It’s a kind of drive, which is equal parts unpredictable and infrequent.

So what counts as a goal for me, is to in some way make progress toward my larger goals – even small progress – on a daily basis. Blog. Practice guitar. Do things around the house so that I can be more efficient or have free time later. Listen to music I haven’t heard before, to stimulate my mind. Anything.

Because I can’t count on inspiration, but I can do my part to be ready for it if and when it comes. If I’m gonna get on a train, I better make it to the station on time – so attending to the daily tasks are what gets me there.

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Lyrics for ‘Perfectly Happy (Wedding Song)’

Gave the whole story of the song last blog post, but forgot to post the lyrics. Oops! So here they are.


I’ve been called particular,
Although I often laugh.
It’s true that I know what I want,
And most don’t know the half.

You caught on pretty fast-
I must admit that I’m impressed.
The state of this union
Will surely be blessed, because I’m…

Perfectly happy,
perfectly happy, ooh –
perfectly happy with you.
Yes I’m perfectly happy,
perfectly happy,
perfectly happy with you.

I know precisely
You are the one for me
And I can say exactly
That where you are’s where I want to be.

I’ve given this some careful thought
To conclude that I love you a lot.
So let’s pick out a special day,
And then we’ll find a spot… because I’m…

Perfectly happy,
Perfectly happy,
Perfectly happy with you.
Perfectly happy,
Perfectly happy,
Perfectly happy with you.

This could change the way I’ll be addressed,
Yes the…
State of this union will surely be blessed.
Whatever circumstance we may go though,
I am perfectly happy with you.

Yes I’m… perfectly happy with you,
Perfectly happy with you,
Perfectly happy, perfectly happy,
Perfectly happy with you.

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How I Came To Write ‘Perfectly Happy (Wedding Song)’

‘Perfectly Happy (Wedding Song)’ seems to be the most popular song from my debut EP. It was a song I wrote for my sister’s wedding. I could tell about the nuances of the lyrics, but it wouldn’t mean much without telling about my sister and what she means to me, because that is where it comes from.

My sister was 15 years old when I was born. She and my two brothers were old enough already to be fairly independent, and when I came along I was a bit of a surprise baby. My parents had started going out in the evenings on their own more often again, and this continued while I was little. I was regularly left in the care of my older siblings, and they did a great job of taking care of me, especially my sister.

Of course, my siblings got older, and along with that they moved out of the house and had their own families. My sister moved the furthest away, from going to University in Ontario, studying and working in Germany, and after she got married to her first husband Tim they went to work as teachers in Botswana in the town of Kanye. They were working for an agency subcontracted by the Canadian International Development Agency, teaching at the Seepasitso Secondary School.

Although my mom at this time had been fighting cancer, she had a period of remission, and my parents decided to go visit my sister and her husband in Botswana, with stops in Europe to do some vacationing and to visit with my Uncle and his family in the Schwarzwald area in Germany. Since I was still quite young, they took me along. This trip probably set the tone for my willingness to be a bit adventurous and take some risks in my life. My sister and her husband were gracious hosts, and I felt very comfortable in Botswana, where I enjoyed playing soccer in the street with some of the local boys. (The rest of the trip was great too).

A year later, my mother’s cancer had returned, and she was confined to the hospital for a long time. My sister and her husband came home from their teaching assignment early in order to help take care of me. When my mother died, it was my sister who delivered the news. Time passed, and circumstances changed. My father remarried. My sister and her husband had children of their own. I went to University, and had some adventures on my own, eventually marrying and being part of my own family. What did not change was my sister’s continued caring support and openness in relationship to me and the whole family.

My sister is a gracious, caring, and authentic person. She laughs easily and naturally. One of her quirks is that, having studied and taken an interest in language for her entire life, she is a bit particular about using language properly – but this particularity about language never takes precedence over how she cares about people. She does know what she wants in life, and partly because she has always been good at knowing what she wants to achieve (mostly in the way of contributing to her community, but also in the things she likes), she has experienced success in achieving her goals.

A few years ago, suddenly and unexpectedly, her first husband died of a heart attack that he experienced during a weekly floor hockey game at their church. This hit her hard, of course. He had always taken care of his health and been active, so it was a huge surprise and shock. Their boys, now grown up, grieved with her and supported her.

Over time, my sister rekindled a friendship with a former teaching colleague of hers, and that friendship became romantic. This eventually resulted in their getting married, and the opportunity to write ‘Perfectly Happy’.

In the lyrics of ‘Perfectly Happy’, I sort of playfully take on my sister’s perspective regarding her new husband (and old friend), suggesting that she is a particular person who knows what she wants – and that he fits the bill. There’s a bit of word-play, comparing the relationship between the couple to a sort of ascendancy to the leadership of a country. A ‘State of the Union Address’ is a speech given by a President of the United States, generally addressing significant and emerging circumstances of note to the entire country. A marriage is often also referred to as a union; a ‘state’ is a condition; and ‘addressed’ can mean either ‘indicating a place of residence’ or ‘the way in which one person initiates discussion with another’. I like word play, and so does my sister – it’s part of the whole family’s sense of humour, really.

So there you have it – that’s how I came to write ‘Perfectly Happy (Wedding Song)’. I’ve changed it a bit since I first sang it at my sister’s wedding – it is now lower in pitch, for example, since I refocused my overall singing style to stay in the vocal range I’m more comfortable with – but basically it’s the same song I wrote at the time. I hope that you can feel the sense of affection and playfulness that I had when I wrote it.

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