Sunday, March 01, 2015

Wisdom about Life from Songwriter Joe Henry

Not only have I never heard Joe Henry before, but I didn't even recognize any of his collaborators besides Madonna.  But in just a few minutes' talk with Krista Tippett on her radio program On Being, this guy tossed off some wisdom both profound and obvious. 
  • Those "bumps" in the road of life are the road of life; ants at the picnic are part of what it means to have a picnic. I added to myself, "Difficult classes are what teachers are for!"
  • He thinks of marriage as a verb, and, once you're married, you can never not have been married, any more than he could not be a brother, even if, "God forbid," he and his brother were to suffer estrangement.  Today's sermon by Fr. Daron Vroon at St. James' Episcopal Church concerned this same idea:  "covenant," unlike "contract," is a binding relationship, not just a transaction.  
  • Songwriting is a process of discovery.  The song has a wisdom of its own; the creator has to learn what the song already knows.   Later, in another context, he said the same thing about relationships, esp. marriage.
  • His beloved parents were devout Christians; he never identified with the religion, but felt his salvation in music.  His earliest memory was sitting under the ironing board, looking up at the foam under the cover, while his mother watched JFK's funeral.  He knew she was upset. He asked, "Does this mean you're going to die?"  "Yes, dear."  "Will I die, too?"  "Yes, dear." 
  • A lyric of a song on his latest album tells us that "a blind man looks out of your eyes." 
The clips of his music did not appeal to me; but he sounds like a good, wise, healthy man.  

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