Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Further thoughts on "The Things We Can..."

After reading a comment that my cousin Lisa posted to the previous post, I’d like to add something to my explanation of the song.

Let me start by saying that I am often hesitant to explain my viewpoint of a song at all, because I don’t want it to defer your interpretation. You (reader, listener) may have heard “The Things We Can And Cannot Keep” and found a meaning inside the song that I have not found yet, that I did not know was there. Something mysterious happens with art when it speaks in ways that the author or artist has no control over. In my opinion, It is all that an artist can hope for, that their creation would have wings and fly on it’s own.

So I am happy to explain my songs, but I will always be careful not to share too much. Let me give you an example. There is a song by Sara Groves that has moved me very much called “Why it Matters”. You can read the lyrics here. There is a line in the song that says “Like a statue in the park, of this war torn town”. Now, I don’t know what town, or what statue she had in mind when she wrote the song, and I’m not sure I want to know. Not knowing allows me create a home for the song in my imagination, without the stage set for me. It’s like reading a book and then seeing the movie, it’s rarely what you imagined in your head, and sometimes you end up wishing you hadn’t seen the movie at all and could have just kept the images you had in your mind.

I am actually going to elaborate on this subject when I touch on another song called “New Today”, but for now I’ll get back to my original intent, “The Things We Can And Cannot Keep.”

After Lisa reminded me that innocence is not just about childhood or adolescence, I realized I had made it appear that way in my post. And I wanted to point that out, in light of what I said in the above paragraphs, I don’t want a listener to be fenced in by my description of the song. Let me put it this way, I think I’ll relate to “The Things We Can And Cannot Keep” just as much in 30 years as I do now. So if you relate to the song in any way, I thank God, the ultimate Creator, and the one who gives art wings.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Me again- Lisa- since I have no idea how to do this blog stuff- I have to log in as "anonymous". :)
I disagree with what you said about making it sound like your song was only about the innocence of being young. And I think it is fantastic when an artisit shares their own thinking behind their art. To me it is like discussing a great book or a painting, or anything that stirs your heart. I guess my point was that the listener hears what God has in mind for him/her. Your song made me think about how we go through so many stages and so many types of innocence, and your post helped me understand what you felt when you wrote it. I don't think you should ever be afraid to share why or what moved you to write a particular way- it is your thoughts, your art, and your talent. To be able to look inside someone else through a song is a gift to us- the listeners! It seems when people share of themselves, others can't help but be introspective. Thanks for being so "inside out" for us listeners, and and for posting!!

Nelson Prater said...

What a treat to be reading Alli Rogers' blog while listening to "you, and the evening sky" at the same time. This CD has been repeating in my CD player since yesterday.

You outdid yourself this time, friend. Hauntingly beautiful.

I'm going to have to order some more CDs because I've given away the extra one I ordered the first time.

Iowa!