Anyone who has read my blog or followed my tweets or been on my Pinterest account has most likely encountered my love of David Gray. I will not go into how happy I am that he has announced a summer tour of the US that I am hopeful will bring him somewhere near me, because that is not what this post is about. Instead I will share one of my favorite moments in a live recorded version of his biggest US hit, Babylon, that I have on my iPod. There is a moment where he stops singing the song and lets the audience sing instead. The whole stadium sings along, word for word, and, though I can't see his face of course, I sense that he is smiling as this happens.
Words he wrote and set to music are now being sung back to him by people he could not have imagined. That song-- something that came to him in I am sure a very personal manner-- has now gone out into the world, been taken in by strangers and made meaningful in very unique ways. His song has become their song. And for some reason I can hear that exchange happening in that recording-- what was once his has now become something else entirely.
In a few months my third novel will be releasing. I am gearing up for it here with talk of marketing and promotion, working hard to get my work into as many hands as possible. And sometimes as I think of why I do that, I think of that moment on that recording when they all sing along. And how it's clear that the people David is singing to have embraced what he labored over and had a vision for. It has become theirs. For anyone who endeavors to create something-- be it music or poetry or prose or art-- I think that's the moment of ultimate fulfillment: when what you did leaves you and goes out into the world, settling in the hearts and minds of those who have received it and becoming something totally other than you. It becomes theirs and not just yours.
And if you're lucky, you'll get to hear them sing along.