An Invitation & Let There Be Song

I got an invitation a few days ago to try out for a small gig for a group of people I care about, Seth Godin’s Akimbo community. The gig is sort of an opening slot for “The Real Skills Conference.” The upside, I would be featured at the outset of the conference and some number of people could see me doing my Work. The downside, I needed to get five minutes together.  

That’s what I did today. Sculpting a song into five minutes which would be a small gift to the community. Choosing the song I’d play was the easy part. In March, a friend in the Creative’s workshop had written a poem. I suggested she set it to music.  She challenged me to do instead, and I did.  

Writing an introduction was harder. I spent two or three hours sifting through the story I wanted to tell which would have to be about sixty seconds long. What follows is the five sentences that I wrote to introduce the song.  After the video I’ve included a draft the shorter introduction was culled from.

In March, just as we were beginning to shut down in Boston, videos from Italy’s full lock-down were emerging. They were singing beautiful arias and folk songs together. As a singer, and a songwriter it was hard not to be a little jealous of that culture. 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back I can see that those of use who were taking part in The Creative’s Workshop at the time, were singing together. The Work we cared about enough to share, ship, and comment on generously—those were our songs. 

This song is based on a poem Amanda Judd posted in the Creative’s Workshop

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Everything that follows is rough draft stuff:

March 15th, was the last day of the last week I got scheduled to work in March. 

For the first time in my adult life I lost my job. 

I’ve since come to call those three months my government sponsored Sabbatical.   

But at the time, I had no idea how or when I’d next get paid. 

Two days before I’d bought $356 worth of groceries on my Visa at 6:30 in the morning, and literally took the last economy pack of toilet paper off the shelf at Market Basket.   

The next time I’d go shopping, we’d be showering and then washing our groceries after we got home.  

At the time, Italy was in the middle of one of the strictest shutdowns in all of Europe.   

And in the middle of their shutdown, these videos of Italians sings arias and folks songs in full harmony started to emerge.  

I went onto The Creative’s Workshop and Amanda Judd had written a poem about that singing.   

I knew she sometimes write songs, so I challenged her set the words to music.  

She challenged me back.  

I blinked first so to speak. . . 

It was beautiful.   

And as we started sharing our lives moments over Zoom calls and Facebook, I know I was a little jealous. 

Built right into the people of Italy is a culture that supports singing together.  

And videos started showing up of how they came together, the people in their culture were rising up in the moment and coming together.  

These Akimbo workshops are about culture.  

Creating culture, and rising up to moments of hardship, and challenge.  

I joined The Creatives workshop in February. 

And I joined, and we created a culture.  

So when the Italians started singing from their balconies, harmonizing, each finding their part in the choir, my friend Amanda Judd found discovered her par in the choir was writing down a few words about hearing them.  

And reading what she wrote, I discovered my part in the choir, picking up my guitar.   

And make no mistake, every single one of use who was shows up, in The Creatives Workshop, or doing their work to support others is finding their part in the choir. 

Creating and continuing a culture where we join together and lift our voices up. What each of us creates and shares is the song we are singing from our balcony song with generosity, and in harmony with “The others”  

By doing our work, “by singing from our balcony,” by shipping and sharing our voices—we find the others.    

I’m a songwriter.

We’re all songwriters here. 

We’re all creators here. 

We’re all singers.  

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