In the beginning it was a bit of this and a bit of that

And if you’re like me you love it. Words dancing around, clicking their heels, grabbing hold of each other and making language move between them. An act of love in itself. Language. Such a lovely word in any accent. The first musical instrument. We can all play it of course after a fashion; that’s an article of faith with me; if I can do it, then you can do it too, and her, and him. But you’ve got to practise in order to learn. Get better, then get better still, then some day you might get as good as…..

 

The brilliance of others

‘Cos some amongst us have just sooooo got the knack that the rest of us when we stumble upon it, are brought up short; we have to catch a breath, look on, listen, open-mouthed yet speechless, in awe and envy in its presence, be it busk or boogie, ballad or blues, chord or chorus, rant or rhapsody, recitation, incantation, note or nursery rhyme. We’ve all got so many musical word-shaping heroes. I live in such a state of perpetual admiration of so many virtuosos that I haven’t got breath to name them all. And you can let the brilliance of others intimidate you for a long time, which I certainly did, or you can accept this nudge from me; take the brilliance of others simply as a gift; gather it into the bones of your being and let it do its radiant bit.

 

Little sprouts of confidence

Every influence we’ve ever had, every inspirational person leaves us, knowing or unknowing, with a bit of themselves, like a little layer of grace transforming itself, and each one of us, as it warms and spreads through every last capillary, corpuscle and probably even chromosome into the chemical equivalent of gratitude. And that gratitude for me is the nugget of confidence. All of a sudden when you’re not looking, perhaps even despite yourself, little shoots of confidence begin to sprout, and you think, ‘I’ll never be as good as them, but if I take a deep breath and borrow a bit of that and change it a little so it sounds slightly more like it was for me, then I might be able to do a bit of my own, in my own way. There might be some things I can say. Some tales I can tell. Some tunes I can hum. Some words that might even hear themselves sung through me.’

 

And some discover it early and others not till late, and some haven’t discovered it yet, but perhaps they will. Even today. Nobody knows. But I remember how I first expressed it in a little finger-wag to myself:

‘Never leave a single story unsung.’