As I spend more and more time exploring this subject of flight in all my album prep, the more I realize that it's been on my mind for a long, long time. It pops up in notebooks and old journals from years ago - the word fly drawn or decorated or colored in with time and care. The phrase fly woman genius itself came out of an exercise I did while studying at Shakespeare & Company a few years back. I have a necklace, a pendant of found text that reads simply, "free". I bought it with the intuition that I was far from free in my life at that time, and in the hopes that it would somehow magically transform me and teach me how to be. And I'm not alone. It was surprising to me how many of the composers I asked onto this project already had a song in their proverbial trunk about flying, or at least wanting to. Nor did I really need to go out and have new songs written at all; the musical theater canon is full of them. Now that it's on my mind I seem to hear them in every class or audition I go to.
But that's really no surprise, is it? Humankind has been enthralled by flight for thousands of years. Pick a culture, extant or not; it probably has a bird myth or five. Or just ask the Wright brothers, or Amelia Earhart. It's not just me; it's all of us.
We feel stuck in unhealthy relationships, going nowhere at our dead-end jobs, hemmed in and caged and put in a box. We daydream with our heads in the clouds. We get pushed out of the nest. We want to break free, we want to spread our wings, we want to fly far far away from here. And what do we imagine happens when we die (if we are very, very good)? ...we get to go live in the clouds and sprout wings and fly around all day! (and play the harp, although that's another story.)
My sense in all of this is that we all know, somewhere deep in our subconscious perhaps, what we are really made of and who we are meant to be. It's what (I imagine) Denise Levertov was writing about in the poem from yesterday. Freefall. Resting upon air. We may not know how to get there, and it may not be possible to leap off the cliff, quit our jobs and change our lives and fly, tomorrow. But the icky feelings and the teenage rebellion and the pervasive human intuition that I gotta get out and fly away are all there for a reason. The question is, what are we going to do about them?