Where to Begin: “Turn A Light On”

Singing is primal.

It began…

in my crib…

6-8 years younger than my siblings, I resented going to bed earlier than they, who were downstairs enjoying laughing at television and who knows what else. I understood that my tiny closet of a bedroom, shared with a sibling, needed to have lights out, but a light left on in the hallway was not only a comfort, but allowed me to continue being awake, and playing in my crib. Consequently, and rightly, it was usually tuned off, to encourage sleep.

Who remembers these things? I do, with recollections connected to all my my senses. I would lie there, and say over and over, like a chant, Turn the [hall] Light On, until I fell asleep. Tribal and monotonous, but none the less, that may have been my first song.

Note: Please do not read into this. It was not wrong to let my litany of petition go unheeded, I would have been awake all night otherwise, I never wanted to miss anything, and I was not frantic, I was literally saying it over and over until I burnt out and fell asleep…it would wind down, slower and quieter until I was “out” and…it must have been a funny (and slightly annoying) thing to hear…Ok…not busting on the parenting choice. My Mom reads this. Hi Mom!

One evening, several years into this songwriting journey, I was sitting t the piano, fooling around with notes, what I would now refer to as a written session, but trust me, I was just de-stressing and doodling melodically…I asked myself, what was the first song you ever made up Becky? And the phrase came to my mind, as clear as if spoken out loud…Turn the Light on…It came flooding back to me…the song fell out intact, in minutes.

The first half of the song talks just about that, singing that line “to anyone who might listen, to anyone who would pass by” because I was afraid, and I was also plagued with re-occurring nightmares.  The second part, however, was inspired much later. It can be interpreted as a song promoting foster care, or care for those who provide foster care, or care for those who care for any impressionable child of children, who are struggling under the weight and need encouragement and support…it is about welcoming those who struggle with the past, with the present, and making space for them, which encompasses hospitality and time, and giving of yourself, however you can. I have attempted this, through supporting struggling young parents with housework help at times…at times, I have been on the needing end. Everyone has been. Everyone can be both, needy and needed. Everyone should take some time to meet needs, if possible.

People often wonder what goes into a song. This one, it just rolled out, like my pen was gripped by a force other than my own hand. I could hardly write the words fast enough, the melody was there he whole time. The same one that was with me when I was in that crib and calling out, or later, struggling to parent and feeling like a failure, and spending myself in attempting to elevate others…attempting to Turn a Light On. Of all my songs, this one reaches people at personal levels and depths. Music is that way. It cannot mean to each listener the very same thing it means to me. Some songs come with a “film-reel” that could just about turn out the same no matter who holds the camera, but there are other songs which change like a chameleon to fit the background of each listener, this is one.

Enjoy…let it take you where you need to go. Where does this song take you? Feel free to drop a comment, or contact me personally via my website.


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