Writing Better Lyrics, by Pat Pattison – book review

I’ve just finished Writing Better Lyrics.

Let me try that again: I’ve just finished reading the book entitled Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison. This book has already cropped up once or twice on the blog. It was recommended to me (and a room full of other starry-eyed songwriters) by Graham Kendrick – the father of modern worship songwriting, and I am ever grateful to say, my cowriter on ‘Holy Overshadowing‘.

Pat Pattison is a professor at the Berklee College of Music, and has clearly obsessed about lyrics in ways only a professor who turns up in jeans and a leather jacket can. (That link is a YouTube video of a seminar Pat did at IMRO.)

Seeing as you might only be interested in this book if you yourself are a songwriter (or perhaps a poet, or even just a ‘writer’ (I know . . . no one is ever ‘just’ a ‘writer’ . . . )), well, given that, I’ll cut to the chase. Read More…

Wiggly Words

I found some words at the bottom of the garden –
Slimy, squirmy and more –
I took those words, hastily squiggled,
And shoved them in a jar.

I tried to catch some fish with them –
Slippery, silvery and wet –
But those tired adjectives didn’t make good bait,
Left me angling in regret.

I took a few words to the refuse heap –
Like biodegrade, rot and soil –
But those nouns and verbs were so sleepy and slow,
And yielded a pathetic spoil.

The children at school rather frightened my words,
For they flopped and burrowed and hid;
And when they got pushed through some hideous backwards letters,
I wrested them from those bumbling kids.

I did everything I could with those wiggly things,
Even failing to enamour the birds;
But now that it has all been said and done –
I guess I’ll have to eat my words.

Autumn’s Eaves (poem)

Then leaving Summer’s sandy shores
Now beckoned by the breeze
We donned our jumpers, hats and boots
And entered Autumn’s eaves.
Into the whisper, rustle and crunch
Adjusting to the cold
Watched age and sunsets run like fire
And light the world in gold.

No bonfire night or fireworks
Could near compare to this
We know not how, but we are here
Where, crowning all our hopes and fears
The victory wreath of nature’s year
Reminds us of our bliss.

When in the dusk we turn our feet
And wade through fallen leaves
And wrap our dreams in winter coats
Remember Autumn’s eaves.

Pacifism…s

I have been interested in Christian pacifism for quite some time. Jumped on board when I first heard about it, actually. The idea that Christians should be committed to a non-violent way of life because Jesus was non-violent was, and still is, a no-brainer. I suppose what I mean is that I was already a pacifist except in name, from the time I had grown up in a church context that believed it, and through becoming familiar with stories about Jesus from a young age. Christian pacifism proved to be the label for something I already believed but had never articulated.

I hate violence. It should make every human sick to the stomach – yet sadly we know that all too many people have exercised violent aggression, and too many more people have become victim to it.

Pacifism is never a ‘passive’ stance. To hold it is to put oneself (ironically) in conflict with a world that uses violence to get its way. I will continue to be a pacifist and resist the worldly urge to succumb to violence in order to control and dominate, and follow the way of Jesus who did not resist the violence done to him but overcame through the way of love.

Anyway, all this is to introduce what to some readers might seem like a more frustratingly academic point. Having got your passions on board with those opening paragraphs, I wish to pause and point out with the head that, as one begins to read around the subject of pacifism, one encounters quite a broad spectrum of applications – historically, politically and theologically. Read More…

Nothing (A poem)

Isn’t it quite something
That something came from nothing?
That nothing could do something
To make it all appear!
But let me tell you something:
Nothing can do nothing!
We all have come from something –
Ain’t that a quaint idea?

So lay the heavy burden
Of proof upon the person
Who in some strange delirium
Holds this hypothesis:
That everything existent
Proceeds from that which isn’t;
That nothing, in its wisdom,
Made such a world as this.

© Ben Trigg 2016

We see the world through television sets

Is it true to say – I hope it’s not rude to say – by which I mean I hope it’s not too over-generalising to say – but is it true to say that the older generation today tends to see the world as it saw its television sets: black and white; I’m sure I’m right about this? And that the younger generations tend to see the world as it sees its computer and phone screens – multicoloured and full of detail; you have your opinions, I have mine; some people think this, others think that? By which I mean, you could say, that the older generations tend towards more conservative views, the younger towards more liberal ones? It would be very interesting if our mental perception of the world really was shaped by our visual perception of it in this way.

We live our lives in screens. I’ve recently written a song around this idea. Hope to share it soon. May be even more true than I realised when I wrote it.

I’m not saying that multicoloured is better either – black and white views on some things might be found to be necessary, even eventually inescapable; after all, the UK will either vote to remain in the EU, or it will vote to leave, but it can’t have the “oh well those who want to be in the EU can be and those who don’t want to don’t have to be.” It’s in or out.

We live our lives in screens.

On not knowing it all, and resisting labels

I’m an evangelical charismatic Christian in a theological tradition that has been termed ‘Relational’ and that broadly sympathises with views both in the Arminian-Wesleyan tradition and in the Open Theist camp. I have a high view of the church. I believe in God-breathed Scripture and read it with a Christocentric hermeneutic. I greatly appreciate the Anabaptist tradition. I don’t believe in eternal conscious torment but rather in a view I think is best termed ‘conditional immortality’, and think that the whole debate about hell is better framed in the context of ‘eternal judgment’. I am (I think) a partial preterist premillennialist. I think C.S. Lewis was alright.

All that might look a bit surprising given the title of this post. Read More…