Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chasing Grace

There's a line in a Slaid Cleaves country song that I love. "Just give me one good year, to get my feet back on the ground. I've been chasing grace, but grace ain't so easily found."

I was in the car one time with my sister, driving up the Cuesta Grade, bellowing these lines at the top of our lungs. I remember thinking, as I so often did when I heard them, So profound, so true, so true.

We looked up, and we saw the single word printed on the back of the tractor-trailer driving in front of us: GRACE.

"Well," said Christy, "I guess it's more easily found than he thought."

I never forgot that moment. Just because someone tells you something's hard doesn't mean that it is. Just because he said grace wasn't easily found didn't make it true. I love the idea, the romance of that poetic line, but I see grace all the time.

I heard that same songwriter speaking once, between songs, and he spoke of how he learned to write songs. He said he'd listened to Woody Guthrie songs for so long that he just took them and basically broke them apart and put new words to them and then put them back together and called them his own.

Isn't that what we're doing when we write? Nothing we're doing is really original. When I think about that, there's an element of relief. Sure, my voice is my own. Slaid Cleaves's voice is his own. No one is going to sing his words like he does, and no one is going to write my novels like I do. But these stories we're telling are as old as the hills, so let's not stress about Being The Very First and Being Original.

Let's just find truth, and guts, and loveliness, and bits of gore and ribbon if that's what it takes, and we'll find our own grace because we're that's what we're all chasing and really, it's more easily found than we originally thought.


Unknown said...

wow--love this! :)

Unknown said...

quick story--we were driving to Cambria/San Simeon a few years ago, playing the alphabet game to keep kids entertained when we got to Z which is really hard to find. I said, "it's not like you're going to see a zebra by the side of the road." Not ten minutes later, guess what we saw? God bless Hearst--he'd populated his estate with a zoo, including zebras. We laughed forever about that one. :) So you just never know what you're going to find when you put those thoughts out there *bg*

Sophie Littlefield said...

GRACE on a truck. Oh, sigh, that's it in a teaspoon.

Juliet Blackwell said...

I think the laughter yesterday was a sign of being touched by grace...but maybe that's just me ;-) Truth, guts, loveliness, gore and ribbons...such a wonderful image!

Sophie Littlefield said...

Yeah, I have to agree, I wish i'd written that one myself, especially the gore and ribbons...

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