Now that I’m writing about relationships, I spend more time thinking about what makes them work than I have since I was a teenager. I’d like to share two quotes from Paul Simon’s song Gumboots that rocked my world & shifted my understanding of relationships & responsibility.

The first is in the opening of the song:

“I was having this discussion in a taxi heading downtown, rearranging my position on this friend of mind who had a little bit of a breakdown. I said, you know, breakdowns come and breakdowns go, so what are you going to do about it that’s what I’d like to know?”

Ah, I LOVE that line. Teen emotions are so immediate & so earnest (even if, to an adult, a wee self-indulgent). Back then, I was accustomed to drama, but blown away by the concept a friend could have a breakdown and need to actually do something about it. Action, baby. Courage and action.

The second line is:

“It was in the early morning hours when I fell into a phone call. Believing I had supernatural powers, I slammed into a brick wall.”

Also a fixture of teen life? The midnight relationship drama call. My first head-over-heels relationship had many, many, many a midnight drama call. I was reading a good deal of gothic romance at the time and had this silly idea that simply arriving into your lover’s life would be enough to create fireworks of change. *shakes head*

This lyric introduced a distinction I hadn’t seen until then. A lover may see the beauty and goodness in their beloved, and that sight can transform both…but not without the beloved’s willingness (read courage and action).

I’ve been considering courage, action and transformation in the context of my current story. A character has to choose to change on their own, it’s not enough to be loved & it’s not enough to love.

What lyrics rocked your world?

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