A Crowd-Sourced Lullaby

Since I was a little kid, singing and songwriting have given me a way to carry messages and truths in my heart — messages of comfort and courage.  Lullabies are among my favorite ways to share these messages of comfort and courage with others whether in person (or “in-rocking-chair”) or in recordings. There even used to be an Aunt Minna’s Lullaby Line where people could call in and listen to a pre-recorded lullaby.

The more I work on helping people find their own voices and their own songs, the more richness I find in bringing others into the songwriting process. It beautifully blurs the lines between artist and audience and lets people participate in and get nourishment from this work before the ink is even dry. So far, this has happened in concerts and classes and workshops. Then a couple of days ago I unearthed this song-seed:

Bide your time
in a world of sunlight lies
Until the truth of the night arrives.

That was all I had.

And then it occurred to me: I don’t have to wait for a concert or a workshop to bring others into writing the rest of the song with me!

Instead, I just put up a wee post on good ol’ Facebook: “Writing a new lullaby and would love to crowd-source it: What abiding (and/or calming) truth comes with the night? Let me hear you!”

And the most amazing words and images came floating back on the ether. I turned my original song-seed into the chorus and made verses from the words of Catherine Bromberg (aka “my new nephew’s mom”), Sarita-Linda Rocco, and Rabbi Michael Ross (also a new dad!). Have a listen to what I (we!) came up with (as sung into my iPhone while sitting in my parked car, because… why not?)

Bide your time
in a world of sunlit lies
until the truth of the night arrives
Bide your time
in a world of sunlit lies
and let the truth of the night arise

The trust of love is soft and strong,
soft and strong as silk.
The trust of love is soft and strong
soft and strong as silk the trust of love

Familiar sheets next to your skin
and your prayer-soaked pillow beneath.
Familiar sheets next to your skin
and your prayer-soaked pillow
awakens sleep

It all comes down to I and Thou
at 3:37am.
It all comes down to I and Thou
Deep in the morning it all comes down

Art-making, not to mention life itself, can be lonely work. What are some of the ways you invite others into your work/life?

And if you’d like to add your own verse to “The Truth of the Night” just leave your words in a comment below.

5 thoughts on “A Crowd-Sourced Lullaby

  1. Wow, what a great idea! Very impressed how it turned out too. I just did my first collaborative art piece with a friend, which was the first time I was brave enough to let another person in on my creative process–a big step for me! Not quite the same as using technology, but collaboration seems to be a theme that I keep bumping into right now–online and in life! Amazing how that happens. I wrote a blog post about my collaborative experience just a few days ago: http://www.carrieschmittdesign.com/?p=789

    1. Thanks for sharing your courage, Carrie! I wonder if sometimes the best way to let the work out is to let others in. Mark Nepo says it well: “To hold nothing back means staying committed to letting whatever we experience make its way in and letting whatever is in make its way out.”

  2. I invite my creative friends into my work by trading my work for theirs. For example, with my illustrator and graphic designer, in exchange for their projects like my logo or my business card or artwork, I make them dresses and accessories. This way we can cross-promote and they get one-of-a-kind pieces from me tailored to their figure.

    I love that I can work with friends whenever possible and yes, you do need community to break up the monotony of working alone. Great article!

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