Just recently, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a career as a songwriter. To learn more about my trade I purchased a few books on lyrics, looked at different styles and then realized something I learned ten years ago when I first started listening to Harry Chapin—some things you just can’t teach. You either have it or you don’t, and Harry had it.
Okay, I’m not in my 40’s or 50’s. I didn’t grow up in the sixties and in fact was born in ‘73, so I was only eight when Harry died. But that doesn’t matter. Harry Chapin has an aura and presence that lives on. I find that when I write, a simple E minor will knock upon my mind, as if to say, “You need this here.” And I know that this is Harry’s influence. His ballads fill up my heart and make me a better writer. I guarantee it.
But more significantly, his words have made me a better being. One thing that I’ve taken from Harry Chapin, through my reading of his lyrics and the biography TAXI, is this was a man who used whatever fame he had in an attempt to make a difference in people’s lives. He tries to get people to wake up and reveal that that we take the simplest things (food, shelter, family) for granted.
Every time I start getting a bit down about the seemingly impossible pursuit of making it as a songwriter, I remember Harry’s life message: Stop thinking of yourself and appreciate these moments and help someone else. Harry knew that this world is indeed a “Circle” and that our life is a story song that we can change at any time.
Because of his words and music, I am where I am today. I’m devoting my life, not to “getting famous” but to carrying his message to other souls and showing others how each of us can make a difference in this world in solving our most essential problems. Every time I give a person on a street a sandwich, a dollar, or what have you, I think that Harry would be proud.
Well, Harry, thanks for your music, thanks for your influence in my life. You’ve really had a tremendous effect on the way that I view life.
Harry’s life turned out to be just another “Short Story” but one that can have significant impact on our lives if we take a moment to see just how much one man can truly accomplish. I am so grateful that I could share a bit of what I’ve been carrying around with me for ages. Thanks for listening.
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