The Story Behind the song: Honey (wish that you were here)
It was late summer. I had just returned from a vision quest in the mountains of Colorado, having just fasted and been in deep relationship/conversation with nature for many days.
My muse loves the wild.
I had just returned from that experience, raw and open hearted, when I had to hop on a plane to travel to Michigan to visit family. The experience was jarring, going from slow solo wilderness time to the overwhelm of airports, sitting in a cube of space in a tube packed with people, and cruising through the air at unnatural speeds. It was horrifying and I cried the whole time…
My muse loves contrast and adversity.
I cried because I saw all that I loved and longed for disappear from view as my tether to earth stretched and strained under the great distance between my feet and the ground. It was only for a few hours, but I felt the grief of it nonetheless.
My muse loves grief and love, eats it up like food.
I landed and soon found myself on my nana’s porch, sitting next to her tomato plant as we watched the sun set and the night rise together. I felt a longing in my heart, for someone across the world.
My muse loves pining, not having. My muse loves an empty belly.
There, with nana right next to me, I start playing the chords on my little martin travel guitar. It produces so little sound, and feels awkward as hell to hold in your lap. It didn’t matter, because what tumbled out of me had no concern for form or style.
My muse loves catching me off guard.
There is a distinct picking pattern my dad used to always play when he would sing to me and my sister as kids. It was shaped like a whales tail, if you could see the sound of it. It has a slight delay on the 5th note (the highest pitched one), before tumbling into the 6th, as if that 5th note were walking along minding its own business when suddenly it sees #6 and stops in its tracks. Longing. That note in the pattern feels like longing to me, like the rubber band that stretched in the space between earth and my feet up in the plane just hours before.
My muse loves a heart stretched out like a rubber band.
It was one of those rare moments, where the song just tumbled out of me on that porch. The whole damn thing.
My muse loves running off leash.
The original version, called “Shit and Honey” had 6 verses. Each one slid past my lips down onto the page with ease. Directed by a force outside my control. This force wove a scenery of desire, love, not having (hence the…shit part). Patterns and rhythms of longing laced with a pang of sadness. Shit and honey. That’s life right? You taste the honey, getting glimpses of love, joy, ecstasy. the price, worth every penny, is stepping in shit once and a while. You cant know the honey without it—it would not taste so sweet without the contrast.
“Such a beautiful song” but such a harsh name…to me, it fits because the beauty of it comes from feeling the pain part. If you listen closely, the shit is all there, hidden in each verse about love and longing. To be honest, the name feels…incomplete without a hat tip to the shit, the darkness, the pain that got me there.
A few years later, I did edit the song slightly. Gave it room to breathe more, let it evolve. I let the song title evolve too, dropping the shit.
My muse loves evolving my art.
The heart pangs are still there, don’t worry. You just have to pay more attention to hear the whispers of… shit, bad circumstances, wrong timing… moving through the lyrics. The title doesn’t give it away anymore.
My muse loves mystery.
As I’ve grown with this song, my relationship with its meaning has evolved too. I wrote it, thinking I was writing it about a boy. Ah, the mysterious muse… what I didn’t know then is that this song is really about…
It is about my feet, dangling high above the earth trapped in an airplane, longing to dance with her grasses and trees.
It is about letting the deep, glittering parts of myself peek out from behind the masks and armor, letting myself be seen.
It is about running into the arms of all that you love, it is about doing so even if it is a thousand miles away, unreachable. It is about loving anyways. Knowing love, knowing that it is worth the grief of not having.
A sea away and I love myself and I love you too
and I wish that you were here
to celebrate the setting sun and the cricket songs singing in my ears
oh darling, I pray, to sing with you one day
Sitting with this here tomato vine
she tells me tales of a love that I would like to find
but what I found I cant express with sound
because the music we're making it can't be written down
oh darling, I pray, to write our story one day
I dance in the mornings in my living room
while the eggs are cooking and they're always done too soon
Well I could dance forever to my Billie tunes
but I wouldn't mind, baby, if I could take a turn with you
Yeah if my sparkling shoes could play peek-a-boo
from underneath the hem of this skirt with the looks of you
oh darling, I pray, to dance with you one day
And darling I'm sitting here wondering why
you're as far as the moon
and yet I can hear you whispering oh,
and I feel whole and I'm happy alone
and that's all the reason to run into those arms
oh honey make honey make honey
A sea away and I love myself and I love you too
and I wish that you were here.