Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fail to compete but find inspiration

My son is starting to write his own music. He's worked out the melodies of quite a few songs, but the lyrics seem to stump him. At seventeen, he's admitted that his pocketful of angst to draw from is pretty empty. (Thankfully, I suppose!)

This week, he sidled up to me in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner and said, "I thought I had a pretty cool song written, and then I listened to 'Ain't No Sunshine' by Bill Withers and decided mine sucked."

I told him I could relate. I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett and felt the same way. I read her wonderful story and decided I needed to take up meter-reading or burger-flipping—some line of work where my woefully inadequate story-telling skills wouldn't be as apparent. Then, after some mutual ego-stroking, my son and I both decided that we don't have to try and compete with greatness--only aspire to it.

If you haven't read The Help, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today. Just make sure you have nothing else planned for the next few days. You won't want to put it down. And if it’s been a while since you’ve listened to Mr. Withers, enjoy!


Elizabeth Lynd said...

It's fun to go back and read earlier works of great novelists (and musicians, I imagine, if you can get the really early stuff), see how they've grown, too. I find it inspirational (when I'm not indulging in a "woe-is-me writer's moment). And I'm picking up a copy of The Help today, based largely on your glowing reviews. Thanks for the heads-up. I'm looking forward to many engrossing hours. And a little woe, but only for a minute or two.

Kim Bullock said...

I just finished The Help. I cried for poor Mae Mobley at the end as much as I did everyone else. That poor child didn't stand a chance. What a tremendous book...