Saturday, June 9, 2012

Behold, the West Brunswick Star

As some of you might know, earlier this year my father died. My family and I are still making sense of his sudden departure. Dad was a quiet man, he didn't talk a lot and chose to express the way he felt in practical rather than verbal ways. So, there are things I don't know about him and now never will, things that I didn't like to ask or didn't think to ask.  I assumed that he'd be around longer. I don't want my daughter not to know things when i'm gone. She will never know everything, of course. She knows this story, and now you do too.

When I was giving birth to Ella, I had a lot of visions. And before you ask, it was a drug free birth. In one of the visions, which felt real, I found myself transported to the edge of the universe. The universe is a silent place and I felt utterly alone in its vastness, even when I called into the stars, there was a benign indifference, or so I thought. For when I came back from the edge, I had given birth to my baby girl.

For many years after that, I was troubled by the experience. I couldn't make sense of it and didn't understand what it meant. I tended not to share it either, fearing people would think me a little unhinged. Until, one evening,when I mentioned this to a midwife who was learning guitar from me at the time. We were talking about birthing experiences and I decided to share mine. She smiled and told me that there is an old birth story that tells of women having to go and collect their babies from the stars and, it seems, this is what I had done. What a bloody relief. I was just out there collecting Ella.

Ever since I learned of this story, I've been trying to write a song that talks about the experience in a simple way. I hope this song may have done it.

It's a dodgy recording, I need a preamp and a decent microphone, but for the purpose of the arrangement exercise, what I've got suffices. It will appear in more palatable form on the West Brunswick Album later this year. I hope you can get past the hum of the computer and hear the song. (Just click on the play button and away you go - it' sounds better through head phones.)

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