But if he changes the then, his now, including all the good parts could be eliminated.
What would you do?
The song came to me like so many others. A line kept repeating itself in my ear.
I wanna be a kid again.
As I rolled down A1A with the beach to my left and Vilano Beach ahead of me, I had the memory of a movie we watched the night before. A Bruce Willis movie (The Kid) in which his younger self (a child) kept coming back to him bringing up hurtful memories and helping (?) Bruce’s character with current situations. The younger self helped the older self remember and prepare.
I pulled my motorcycle into a gravel parking lot in front of a beachside café and made my way to the counter for the daily special. As I sipped my coffee, I pulled a pad from the zippered pocket of my black leather motorcycle jacket and started to write. By the time breakfast arrived, I had most of the song roughed out. The words flowed once I started. And so did the tears. Almost sobbing, I grabbed a napkin from the dispenser and dabbed my eyes, glad that the café was empty at that early hour.
My song traced the journey of a young child through a tortured childhood. He never really got to do what kids got to do. He was always on the lookout for what bad stuff might happen. But he was hopeful. He had dreams. The final verse sees him as an adult with a job and a wife. He has a good life…but something was missing. He still yearns for what could have been…what might have been…if his childhood had been a bit different. He wanted to be a kid again to see what could happen now. Hopeful, yet disappointed.
The words that first appeared in my mind’s eye became the title. And the last line of the chorus. Within a few months (2007), I would record it on my first CD, Same Tune, Different Song.
Eventually, I tested the waters, to see if there might be interest from an artist to record it. I remember the review I received from one submission. Overall, the rejection was kindly written. What the reviewer had difficulty with was why in the world would a kid with a terrible childhood want to be a kid again. Especially that kid again. Why live that drama and disappointment one more time?
Perhaps the problem was with me, the songwriter. Maybe my words didn’t explain well enough. In my mind, if that man at the end of the song could go back—be a kid again—then there was a chance for a better ending. Maybe a do-over? Just like a novel writer who writes a terrible first draft and then reviews the manuscript with a red pen in hand, the story has the potential to become better. The characters are more alive. The protagonist makes it to his dream.
While I did not sell the song, the rejection helped me see the song—and the kid—better. That kid’s life and challenges were the beginning of the story for the protagonist. Childhood was the beginning of the character arc.
If the adult could go back to then, he could change things and have a better now. At least, so he thought.
But if he changes the then, his now, including all the good parts, could be eliminated. Was he willing to throw away what he knows his life is now for what it might have been? Even if that meant that changing the then, could result in a worse now?
What would you do?
Make it a wonderful week and HTRB as needed.
My new book will be released on January 1, 2023. You can find more information here.
And you can still order:
- Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit (2020, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information is at the above link.
- Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
- Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program used the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.
You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida