Adler and Hearn Talk About Songwriters and Songwriting Interview #5
[This transcript is excerpted from an Art of the Song interview as broadcast nationally on Public Radio. Click here to listen to the complete show with music.]
John: Do you think it’s important for people to find a creative outlet? Obviously you have music; there are many forms of creativity out there. Do you think it’s important for people to find that?
Hearne: Absolutely. Again, going back to the children, it’s exciting to see them create, whether it’s an art piece or learning how to play an instrument for the first time, or learning how to write a song. Instilling that in young people is really important.
Adler: Lindy has taught guitar off and on through his life. He’s had students from really little to eighty years old. You’re never too old to connect for the first time or to re-connect to that. I think that that can save a life. Just get you in touch with your joy.
Hearne: With our own daughter, with Kate, Kate lived with us for about eight years before she went off to college. She was struggling, from the time she was twelve to fifteen, and was kind of lost. But she found the guitar. I tried to get her to play the guitar for years but she said, “No, that’s your thing. That’s not mine.” Finally she picked it up and started learning guitar behind my back. Lynn was teaching her guitar chords behind my back. Sneaking around.
Adler: Only because she came to me.
Hearne: She was sneaking around though. One day she played the guitar for the first time for me and I saw this joy come over her that was relaying something. That was her passion. She found her passion. She ended up getting a scholarship to college. She majored in music and she graduated. I never thought she would graduate from high school. Sorry Kate. But she graduated from college in Levelland at South Plains College with just a wonderful spirit and now she’s on her path to being a full-time musician. We told her about the vow of poverty she would have to take. But she found her passion. That’s an example just in our immediate family of how art can bring life into a person.
Adler: The creative expression. The ability to express yourself. Sometimes you can’t express yourself with your own words. Some people struggle with that. But you can express yourself at the piano or at the violin or the flute.
John: You’re talking about how children seem to have this natural creative flow. What is it that happens, do you think, as we grow up that tends to block that flow in some people?
Hearne: I think we become aware of the voices outside of us. We want to be liked and loved and when we hear those critical voices then we, speaking for myself, I tend to go inward.
Adler: Shut down.
Hearne: Shut down. Sometimes I’ve said, “Well, why should I struggle with playing the guitar and writing lyrics? I’m not ever going to be as good as … fill in the blank.” There’ve been times when I’ve struggled with even continuing. When I was younger. Not now, I don’t care now. I don’t care what people think as much. I just love it for doing it. I think it’s those outward voices that we hear, the critical things.
Adler: I was with your friend who shared a mantra of hers with me some years back when we were hosting our own live music listening venue in Winnsboro, Texas, which is our home. She knew I was struggling with some issue, I don’t remember now what the issue was, but she shared this mantra with me in hopes of helping me in life. I think she was under the impression it was from some ancient African teaching but I’ve seen it attributed to other directions as well. The four things were “to show up, pay attention, tell the truth without blame, and be open to the outcome”. And she said, “If you practice that mantra, that approach, that four-fold thing with every little aspect of your life you will just always be a lot happier. You can adjust your preconceived ideas about how things are going to go.” The third one, which was “tell the truth without blame”, I immediately did not connect with it at all. I was thinking to myself, “I always tell the truth. I don’t blame others.” Then the more I just let that soak in over the years, I’ve realized how much we blame ourselves and how much we don’t tell the truth about ourselves in terms of what we can do. We do spend a lot of time saying, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t do this, that, or the other.” Blaming ourselves for whatever from the past or in the present. If you tell the truth without blame, “This is the way it is, but I’m not going to blame myself. This happened, but I’m going to move on. Ok, so I spent the first forty or fifty or sixty years of my life not doing the creative things that I really wanted to do underneath the surface of my life but now I’m going to change and I’m going to start being more open to expressing myself. I’m going to learn to play an instrument or I’m going to start singing my songs.” That fourfold thing has really been a great teacher for me every day since my friend Myrna shared that with me. So I’ll pass that along.
Viv: Beautiful. Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne, thank you so much for joining us on Art of the Song today.
Hearne: It’s been our pleasure.
Adler: Absolute pleasure. Thank you.