I’ve been moving in slow motion this week, weighed down by a nasty chest cold and a general spiritual malaise that has stifled my creative output.
I did find some solace and a spark of energy not from my own creativity, but from the poetry-in-song of a young man named Dan McCormick. Dan is a senior at Hanover College, looking to pursue a career in writing. He has performed in various theater productions and produced two musical albums (which can be accessed and downloaded free here).
Dan tells stories in his songs with word pictures that are vivid and non-sentimental. His songs are succinct (most under 3 minutes) and they avoid clichés and easy resolution. They are vignettes, or, as in the title of his second album, “devotions” of a young man looking for the best in life but not afraid of the worst.
One song that really grabbed me as I listened to Dan’s work is called, “Sandy and Creole” which sings of two distinct young women – one, a starry-eyed debutante – the other, a pill-popping femme fatale. Through the wonder of the narrator, we fall in love with both of them. The song works on a literal level – describing two alluring young women, but also philosophically, as we are drawn to both the idealism of Sandy and the nihilism of Creole.
I encourage you to hear Dan’s version of “Sandy and Creole” (by clicking on the title). If you want to follow the lyrics, they are listed below.
Sandy says that best friends will never grow apart,
and she makes faces at the clouds.
She cuts pretty pictures out of magazines,
and if it rains we watch T.V. without a sound.
Creole fills her pockets with cigarettes and pills,
curing boredom with anything she can.
She says, “You can find your answer in the melody.
Forget the rest—it all means nothin’, man!”
And Sandy says she’s gonna be a star.
She says, “I’ve got this debutante thing down.”
Creole says, “I don’t care if I don’t have any money.”
And she sobers up and drives back into town.
Sandy gives me chewing gum and giggles all the time,
and we lay in circles in the grass.
She says we’re perfect just the way we are,
and she wonders how we can make the summer last.
Creole pulls my jacket off and takes me by the arm,
and we dance like feathers in the air.
I can see her busted up and smiling,
tumbled over with blood in her hair.
And Sandy says, “Tell me all your dreams.
Can’t you hear that sweet angelic call?”
Creole says, “God is dead, so let’s get drunk instead,
and we’ll celebrate our luminescent fall.”