Music has always been a big part of my life. Different songs have become the soundtrack to years or even decades. Some hang on even longer than that and speak almost directly to something inside. One of those songs was written by Andrew Wood. An artist that died before I even heard any of his music but his impact on me and the musical landscape lingers on. He was the lead singer of a band called Mother Love Bone which almost directly preceded Pearl Jam. In addition to that, he was the roommate of Chris Cornell who reportedly the song “Man of Golden Words” is about.
It’s a relatively simple song with mainly piano and guitar played behind lyrics that are repetitive but poignant. Admittedly, Wood and I could not be more different. The reason that you’ve most likely never heard of him or Mother Love Bone is that he died of an overdose before his band could ride the wave of the Seattle music scene in the 1990s. Probably his greatest link to fame is his former bandmates who formed Pearl Jam and a tribute “band” called Temple of the Dog which is a lyric from this song. Despite his untimely demise, his impact was undeniable on the scene of the time and on individuals like myself thirty plus years later.
Each of us has within us both the propensity to give gifts that are more meaningful than they should be and also receive the same. The man of golden words doesn’t truly live because his words are not golden to everyone. Someone will read this and take the impetus to listen to the song and not hear what I hear. AND THAT’S OK! It’s not the catalyst for them but for me it has been and continues to be a form of rocket fuel for my soul. I put things out into the world regularly with my students, through this blog and other places simply in the hope that one person might have that golden words moment. We all need them! The world is often unforgiving and at the moment, it seems to take more energy than it gives. These gifts that we can put out into the world for others to find are so extremely important. It doesn’t need to be a song or a piece of art or anything more than sharing a moment with someone that lifts them up. The idea of being stingy with what you have is common place because you might not get back what you put out. I can never give back to Andrew Wood what he has given to me but I can pay it forward.
There are other souls in this world who are in need of golden words because they are hurting or just disillusioned. Our species is not defined simply by our flesh and blood. If it were, we’d have gone extinct long ago because we are mediocre animals. The thing that separates us is the ability to put meaning to things far beyond what is true. We elevate our thoughts and ourselves to heights that we should not be able to reach. However we do it regularly when we are inspired. Each of us has the ability to give and receive these types of gifts. Look for them and don’t be afraid to give them, even when you’ll never know the recipient.
Words and music, my only tools!