Every Christmas, I hear this song, and every time I hear it, I tear up all over again.
I don't want to start a religious discussion, since those are not allowed here on the Working Stiffs, but the lyrics are extremely powerful. I suppose if you're not a Christian, it's just another song, but for anyone who believes that Jesus was the son of God, and especially anyone who's ever given birth to a child and held that child and kissed it... the question of what Mary must have felt when holding her baby boy is irresistibly compelling.
Songwriting is a discipline I've never been able to master. I can write. Sometimes, my sentences even approach brilliance. Or maybe I won't go quite that far, but once in a while, I manage to string words together into something that makes me happy, maybe even a little delirious. Most of the time I just write plain sentences, though. They say what I want them to say, in the best way I can say it, and they're perfectly serviceable. But every so often, on a rare blue moon, the stars align and the words come together in a way that comes off the page.
That's how I feel about a really good songwriter. The words are perfect; the kind that give me chills when I hear them.
There are authors out there who can do the same thing, of course. A friend of mine is a great admirer of Tim Hallinan. I had the pleasure of meeting Tim at Bouchercon back in September, and can attest to the fact that he's a lovely, lovely man. He told me I don't have an accent, I have a "lyrical intonation." How can you not love that?
Anyway, my friend Beth says this about Tim's writing: "I know all those words. Why can't I put them together like that?"
That's kind of how I feel about songwriters. I know the words; why can't I put them together the same way? Why can't I write something that makes people cry? That makes them smile and laugh and feel?
So what about you? Do you like music? Or lyrics? Do you have a favorite song that brings you to tears? Or a favorite songwriter? Or for that matter a favorite author whose words make you weep with joy?
Have a Merry Christmas season, ya'll. Or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.
Oh, and if you happen to be getting a Kindle or Nook for Christmas, allow me to steer you in the direction of the Book Lovers Buffet. Almost 100 authors, almost 200 books, all different genres, all just $.99 each. A Cutthroat Business is on the mystery page.