But the biggest gift you can give me is joy – of which I spoke about on stage (and is hopefully the topic of this blog). You see, I’ve been obsessed with the difference between happiness and joy recently. Many people have pondered it but perhaps the most pop culture appropriate in my universe is a musing by George Lucas who compared (forgive me while I paraphrase) the two emotions thusly : happiness fades but joy endures. Joy is also much more rare.
Happiness, like the kind you get when you buy your first car, can never be exceeded. You can purchase another car, a more expensive car. But nothing will ever quite top the thrill of that first time. You can try to replicate it your entire life but you’ll never feel the degree of happiness you felt the day you held the keys of your first car (mine was a rusty yellow one with a beat up stereo I inherited from a sister
Joy, on the other hand – is never replicated because every joyful experience is unique and each one can be accessed any time you think about it. Like last night, for example, when I burst into tears mid way through singing ‘ I knew I loved you’. You see, I thought about my career. I thought about 20 years in the business (the treacherous, vile, greedy, electric, exciting and ultimately shallow music industry) and the fact that through all of the years you’ve stood by me. Then I thought of the point in my life when I wrote the song with Daniel Jones – when our record company told us we didn’t have any hits (on an album with ‘Affirmation’ and ‘Crash and Burn’ on it!). I thought about how I’d been struggling with depression and very dark thoughts. I thought about how I didn’t believe in love anymore. And I wrote lyrics about a fictional person who believed in love at first sight and happy ever afters.
As I sang the song on stage 13 years later – during a show that behind the scenes had been absolutely fraught with technical disasters and a calamity of hurdles all week just to get to show time; I realized I had finally met the person I was singing about all those years ago. My soul mate and my one true love. I knew I’d love him. I just hadn’t met him yet.
Like my album, ‘Secret Codes and Battleships’ (which the more I think about it, is sort of my life story as an album) – the journey to happiness has been so difficult at times. For every positive step there’s been a grey one where I’ve thought the sun would never shine again – but it did and does sometimes.
Not every day. And not eternally. But in moments of joy that I’ve filed away in my mind to dust off when the siren’s call is just too deafening.
So sum up – all through the show – as hard as I’d worked and as special as some of the arrangements and staging had been – I was coming down really hard on myself wanting the show to be perfect for you. In my heart I felt like there were moments that were failing. I know we didn't fail! The show felt very special. It's just that there were challenges behind the scenes. I know the audience couldn't tell (because we're professionals!) but it made giving you the show you deserve that much more of a challenge because of gremlins in computers and odd technology hiccups. We pushed through and I was so proud of the band for doing such a great job under pressure. Then I got to that song and the show reached a place where real joy presented itself and became something I felt you deserved: it became real. Never to be repeated. Not to be faked or accessed on demand like cable tv or music in ‘the cloud’. It became a rare moment of joy.
In essence, we had that moment together. Everything leading up to it – your support of me through the years, the catwalk we built so you would have a great view – the songs I played as you were entering the building – even the outfits you wore that night – all of it mixed up together to make a magic that enabled us to have a moment together than could never be repeated.
Thank you for my joy.
And here’s to more moments in our lives.