Here are some words I read out on the album release on saturday night.
I’m releasing an album. Perhaps you, like me, have a voice in your head questioning why I should do this. Or perhaps it is just me, but since we’re here, let me tell you about this voice because it is an important part of the release of this album. This voice of mine has a few names. Steven Pressfield calls it the resistance. Some give it other names, some friendly, some mean. I call it the voice of Peter—because it is me. This voice tells me a lot about music, mostly some variation on the theme of
“It is ridiculous for you to write, let alone record and produce music. Do you really think that the world needs some more songs from a 40-year-old white guy with a scratchy voice, ham-fisted lyrics, and slightly above average musicianship?”
There is, of course, no good answer to this question. Like the classic no-win question:
“have you quit your no-good cheating ways?”
You are damned by admission no matter what answer you give.
But here’s the thing.
Though this voice is part of me,
is a voice I have to interact with every day,
and is a voice that makes sense….
….it is not the only voice!
There are other voices—voices of people like Ani Difranco, Seth Godin, Steven Pressfield, and Michelle Obama.
Voices like those of the poets we are hearing from tonight.
There are the voices of friends from far and near who tell me they want to hear what I have to say.
There is my own voice when I speak to others, which I hear saying to them:
“We need you and we need your voice desperately. We won’t make it without everyone’s voice—including yours!”
Finally, there is a still small voice whispering through the scriptures and holy books, the poets, the life of Jesus, the people in my neighbourhood, and my children,
incessantly insisting that the particular that is me matters, that I am a beloved in whom the CREATOR is well pleased.
This chorus of voices is much nicer than my inner critic and makes for a better world.
Then the choice of whether to create and use my voice becomes a choice of whether to choose life or to choose death. All my life so far there has been something in me that chooses death and long for death.
Much, if not all, of the good in my life, has come from kicking at this voice and instead choosing life and hope, and clinging to this choice with everything I have as if my life depends on it.
And, of course, my life does depend on it.
So does yours.
And my life depends on your voice.
And so on and so forth.
As papa Wendell Berry says, there is no global action, only local action that, if done by enough, can serve to save the world. Or, like my professor, Chris Overvorde insisted to a group of us talking about racial reconciliation
“This will only happen when every one of us and every person loves their neighbour as themselves.”
So, while the voice in me still wonders aloud “who needs this? What do you think you are doing? Stop!” The part of me that hopes, that is awake to poetry, insists that all voices are important, and my own voice is included in that.
I am counted in their number.
I can’t imagine how my voice will help,
but my job is not to figure that out but to speak.
To you who are listening, I hope this small batch of songs and this small batch of words brings you hope and perhaps a moment of peace amidst the fullness of your life. I would love to hear from you your own voice, and if these songs and words resonate with you.
As papa Wendell also says
14 september 2019