How to Make a Record, Part 3: Following Clues


In part one, I talked about the outset of the journey. Part two was a look back at the lack of pattern over the years, which explains the appropriate lack of readiness, which, while uncomfortable, can be very good thing. In this post, thanks to your excellent feedback, I’m going to try and get more specific about the process and try to answer some of your questions.

Right off the bat, let me address this question a few of you asked: Which comes first, the lyrics or the music? This question has been asked of songwriters for as long as there has been songwriting, I imagine. The answer isn’t very satisfying, I’m afraid, which may be why it keeps coming up. The answer is “Yes.” Or, if you prefer, “D) All the above.” Sometimes the lyric comes first, sometimes the music comes first, and sometimes they come all at once, like the doorbell and the phone ringing at the same time. When someone claims to have discovered a foolproof method for creating art—other than a willingness to work very hard at it—I doubt either their honesty or their skill.

I’d dig into that more, but I want to get us back to the studio. Reading through your questions, I realized the best way to approach this may be to choose a song from the new record and give you a play-by-play of what we ended up doing.

On the Steven Curtis Chapman tour last fall, I was desperate to write songs. I knew we would be hitting the studio in a matter of weeks, and I didn’t have a single new song written. Being the opener on a tour is a great opportunity to write because of the abundance of free time. Not only that, it’s inspiring to be rubbing elbows with other songwriters and musicians. I remember hearing Billy Joel say once that when he faces writer’s block he puts on a tweed jacket, brings a notebook to a smoky bar in New York, sits in a corner and pretends like he’s a songwriter; sometimes it’s enough to convince himself. There’s something to be said for that, especially when you’re susceptible to certain voices in your head. It reminds me of George MacDonald’s admonition to know God by obeying him. If you want to know the mind of God, do what he says. Jesus, who knew the Father completely, also obeyed the Father completely. Similarly (though I know it’s a stretch), if you want to know what it’s like to be a songwriter, put on your tweed and write a song. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

Back to the tour. Every time I found a few hours of free time I ducked into a choir room or Sunday School classroom with my guitar and tried to find a song. By the middle of the tour I had written one and started about seven, but I was on the hunt for more. Then one day in soundcheck, one dropped out of the sky. Ben Shive started playing this really cool piano part, then Ken Lewis started drumming to it, and in moments everyone in the room stopped what they were doing. Everyone in the band hurried over to their instruments and without a word started playing along. Brent Milligan put on his bass. Josh Wilson and I started strumming. Harold Rubens at the soundboard stopped tweaking and started listening. Something cool was happening. If you’re a musician or a songwriter, chances are you know what I’m talking about. I’m not usually one for jamming, but sometimes someone discovers a chord progression or a melody or a rhythm that’s like a magic key. It opens an invisible door to a wide field of inspiration and beauty. It’s a rare occurrence, and I imagine it feels quite a bit like the Holy Spirit descending on the house, and we’re suddenly speaking the tongues of men and angels.

Lest you think I’m claiming that something I’ve written is that kind of inspired, let me make a disclaimer. First of all, who knows? God can do what he wants, with whomever he wants. But the song as it’s written is never as beautiful as it was in that fleeting, exhilarating moment of inspiration. The song’s potential is shimmering beyond the veil somewhere, while the song that you finally write is almost always haunted by a feeling of disappointment. When people talk about a book or a song being not so much finished as abandoned, that’s what they mean. They had a picture in their minds or a feeling in their heart that they’re trying to bring into space and time, and there’s just no way (yet) to deliver it in fulness. The song in reality is as different from what you imagined as a portrait is from the painter’s subject. At some point (usually thanks to the mercy of a deadline), you have to put down the brush and give thanks for the chance to have made an attempt. This has caused me some grief, and a lot of frustration. There are songs on my older albums (I won’t tell you which) that I had dreams about, but even as we recorded them I could feel the magic fading. It was like trying to shave as the battery in my Norelco died a slow death and left me half-whiskery. (I thought of that analogy because it happened to me about an hour ago.) The songwriting process for me is about trying to find the words and melodies that will get me as close as possible to the summit of the mountain I first glimpsed through the clouds. Most often, I’m nowhere close. I end up in the desert somewhere, turning the map this way and that. But sometimes I end up at least in the foothills, and I go to bed happy; I haven’t summited, but I can at least see the peak and imagine what it would be like to stand there.

Those are a few of the thoughts that went through my noggin as we vamped Ben’s chord progression. Over the mic I asked Harold at the soundboard to record what we were doing, and he gave me a thumbs up; he didn’t say a word because he didn’t want to break the spell. Right away, for reasons I don’t know, I thought of Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road. It’s an amazing (and amazingly dark) book about a father and son trying to survive the apocalypse. They’re traversing the wasteland of America with hunger at their heels and man-eating wretches on their heels, too, trying to reach the ocean where the father believes they’ll find help. Along the way, he tells his little boy again and again that they have to “carry the fire”. It’s a simple, beautiful metaphor that can mean quite a few things. I started singing that phrase during soundcheck, and pretty quickly staked my claim on Ben’s piano part by asking if I could write something to it.

Here’s the recording from that day. Listening to it, you may wonder, “Why all the fuss?” It may not hit you at all. All I know is, it led me to a song. (That’s Josh Wilson playing the pretty acoustic guitar stuff.)

It was about a month later that I finally managed to write the verses. They came after a long, hard conversation with a dear friend whose marriage was foundering. He wept, and I ran out of words. I finally tried to put down in a song what I wanted to say to encourage him, and came up with this:

Carry the Fire

I will hold your hand, love
As long as I can, love
Though the powers rise against us

Though your fears assail you
And your body may fail you
There’s a fire that burns within us

And we dream in the night
Of a city descending
With the sun in the center
And a peace unending

I will, I will carry the fire
I will, I will carry the fire
Carry the fire for you

And we kneel in the water
The sons and the daughters
And we hold our hearts before us

And we look to the distance
And raise our resistance
In the face of the forces
Gathered against us

And we dream in the night
Of a King and a kingdom
Where joy writes the songs
And the innocent sing them

I will carry the fire for you

Oh, sing on, sing on
(Light up the darkness)
When your hope is gone, sing on

And we dream in the night
Of a feast and a wedding
And the Groom in his glory
When the bride is made ready

I will carry the fire for you

A few words might be tweaked here and there before all is said and done, but that’s more or less the lyric. Caitlin asked about getting too comfortable with formulae or song structures, as opposed to (I assume) pushing yourself into unfamiliar territory. I think this is where exercising good old fashioned discernment is the thing. If you’re a lover of good songs, and a student of good songwriting, you’ll eventually learn how and when to break the rules. There are conventions we all recognize (i.e., verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/verse/chorus, or if you rewind to 1989, verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/ELECTRIC GUITAR SOLO/chorus), and most popular songs these days fall into some version of that. It’s not a bad place to start, and it’s a tried-and-true way to structure a song. But you also have to be willing to follow your nose. You have to be willing to let the song go where it wants. I think that’s the best question to ask, when you come to a writing crossroads: “Where does the story want to go?”

I got home from a weekend of touring yesterday and my daughter Skye (9) had written me a song. It was a sweet, sad song about how she misses me when I’m gone, complete with a verse, a chorus, another verse, a chorus, and a pretty hook of a la-la-la melody. She’s pretty brilliant, and is already saying things like, “I was going to do another chorus, but the la-la-la felt better there.” She’s too young to care too much about song structures, or to feel pressure to conform to the confines of a radio single, or to get hung up on the coherence of an idea. She just sits down at the piano with an emotion and tries to fashion it into a song, without self-consciousness or hubris—just freedom.  It’s a great reminder to me of how best to approach the process. The Kingdom belongs to such as these.

This new song, “Carry the Fire” isn’t much like anything I’ve ever written. I’m fine with that. Actually, I’m excited about it. To answer Caitlyn’s question another way, the way to push yourself into new territory isn’t about pushing yourself as much as it is allowing yourself to be pulled along. I was talking with Sally Lloyd-Jones last week, and she described the way she felt going into her new project: “I feel like I’m following clues.” Exactly.

Here’s a snippet of the song as it its early stages in the studio. This is a scratch vocal, scratch guitars, and no bass—so there’s a lot more that has to happen before I even start singing the keeper vocal. Then comes background vocals, guitars, mixing and mastering. So don’t judge too harshly. (Pretty please.)


Well, I’ve run out of room here. I guess there’s going to have to be a part four, and I’ll try and get to the rest of your questions there. Thanks for reading, folks!


Andrew Peterson is a singer-songwriter and author. Andrew has released more than ten records over the past twenty years, earning him a reputation for songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. As an author, Andrew’s books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga, released in collectible hardcover editions through Random House in 2020, and his creative memoir, Adorning the Dark, released in 2019 through B&H Publishing.


  1. LauraP

    Wrecked by the intersection of pain and beauty. We are surely meant and made to carry the fire for each other.

    “When your hope is gone, sing on”. And when you can’t remember the words, may you have the kind of friends who will sing them over you.

  2. David

    It’s a beautifully tender song, Andrew. Thank you for posting a little foretaste of the glory (soon, Lord willing) to be revealed.

    And though I’m not a recording artist, I have found this series of posts wonderfully applicable to the creative process in writing. Much obliged to you for publishing these observations. Cheers.

  3. Chris

    Okay, I’m tickled pink that you wrote a song inspired by The Road, because I did the same thing when I first read it several years ago.

  4. Dan Kulp

    “where joy writes the songs, and the innocent sing them”.
    Great wordpainting and I like where this song is going.

    I’ve loved this series.

    Are your own books inspiring (song wise) to you or would that be like selling your car and then buying it back?

  5. Vanessa

    I’m feeling some of the magic, not just of the song but of the way you articulate the experience of this song in it’s specificity, and of the songwriting experience in a more general sense. I am inspired to ‘keep pretending’, pretending I really am all the roles I find myself in, be it songwriter, worship leader, librarian, co-worker, co-creator, friend.. For the times certain voices would like to convince me I am otherwise, I will pretend, and sing on.

  6. James Witmer

    That Ben Shive guy… you should keep him around.

    And I love Skye’s music book.

    When you’re haunting empty choir rooms – is it usually a chord progression that leads you to a melody? Or does your muse provide melodies ready to be harmonized?

    Thanks for sharing the partially-scratch track. Just hearing it gives me a better idea of how songs are built up in a real studio.

  7. Zach

    Listening to that live recording of the sound check, I kept thinking how amazing is it that I get to be ‘in’ on the incarnation of this song. We are all, in a way, witnesses…like the birth of a child, or, in Jurassic Park, to the little raptor coming out of the egg – thanks to you sharing it with us. It’s a huge privilege. Thank you!

    Oh, and I love it, btw. That chord progression and beat can stay in your head all day long.

  8. Brad

    Wow. Thanks for being willing to be so transparent with your process. I don’t think I can adequately convey how encouraging this series of articles has been to me. I’m really speaking in ignorance here, but I can’t imagine a lot of artists being willing to post so much about a song in process. Thanks for the gift. The song is sounding great, I will pray for the friend whose marriage is struggling. It has often troubled me that some of the best songs I’ve written come from such painful experiences and I realized that if I want to learn to make art of value to my listeners that it meant sharing from those very painful places.Thanks again AP.

  9. Jeanine

    Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Call me crazy but I kind of like the un-refined version. The pictures you paint with the lyrics are most definitely inspired. Thanks for sharing this process!

  10. April Pickle

    I wish I could add some profound thought, but after reading that, all I can say is THANK YOU. Thank you for letting us be a bug on the wall in this process. (LOVE the raw jam clip. Sure wouldn’t mind that being a reprise at the end of the album.) Actually, it’s better than being a bug on the wall because you are sharing what has transpired in your mind and heart and a bug would not be able to see or hear that! And you are sharing it with total strangers (and loyal fans like me) who have not even had a chance to earn your trust! It is an honor to get to hear the new and beautiful song before it’s released. Thank you! Thanks to Skye as well for her “drop of grace” (had to throw in a RM line because I could hear him in the drums!). Did I mention that I want to say thank you?

  11. Abby Pickle

    I can hear it
    The magic that birthed the music
    Every note is exhilaration and fear
    And mostly trust
    That our hands are just the conduit
    To the music being born
    And musician becomes less
    His soul melding into music
    He knows it and is glad
    He is giving way to something greater
    The sounds come from his hands
    And from his voice
    But song was given him
    And he is ever the servant
    Of Him who gave it
    We feel the rightness in it
    The laying down of pretense
    Surrendering to truth
    Becoming less before the Maker
    And singing for the gladness of it

  12. Rob Osborn

    Beautiful song Andrew, and great insight into it’s process. Thanks for sharing!

    PS– Did it strike anyone else that this song almost feels like a response to Osenga’s “Hold the Light?”

  13. Jess

    This post and this song stole my heart. Utterly and completely stole my heart. Brilliant. Thanks for quickening my pulse.

  14. Loren

    Another great post, and thanks for the sneak peak at a wonderful new song. As others mentioned, the word-painting is great, and the message greater. Singing on when hope is gone–I know I did that when our daughter died, and it was like a cord between me and Christ, holding me to him.

    Had to laugh at the whisker/razor analogy as my dear hubby has unfortunately been there, too. I’ve been at the place of having a story or picture etched in my brain only to find it fading sadly away when pen or brush touches the paper. Be encouraged, though! For though you may feel the magic has faded away and a dim image is left, God has still used so much of what is left to touch many of us, and bring out new magic in our lives.

  15. yankeegospelgirl

    Paul Simon says that writers should write with an expanding angle in mind (he always illustrates this with his two palms together, then traveling apart from each other), as opposed to the opposite, which is starting wide and grinding to a halt as the angle closes. By which he means if you begin with a little kernel of inspiration, you have room to finish the song as more possibilities open up. Otherwise, you’ll run out of things to say in the middle.

    Interestingly, my most recent song happened in exactly that way… and coincidentally the first kernel actually came from a Paul Simon song. I took the call-and-response tag at the end of “Homeless” (“Somebody say… somebody sing… somebody cry…”) re-worked it, and turned it into the chorus of a black gospel song. Then I started on the verses, and they just plopped into place one after the other. There was some re-writing, but it all came together very quickly.

  16. Laura Peterson

    Oooo – Cormac McCarthy. I love hearing those stories about a phrase or image that somehow emerges into new life in a song. We did a book a few years ago about liturgy, that opens with a quote from The Road–

    “The boy sat tottering. The man watched him that he not topple into the flames. He kicked holes in the sand for the boy’s hips and shoulders where he would sleep and he sat holding him while he tousled his hair before the fire to dry it. All of this like some ancient anointing. So be it. Evoke the forms. When you’ve nothing else construct ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.”

    It always strikes me as so beautiful and so desperately sad.
    Really looking forward to this album. Thanks, AP!

  17. Jeff Smith

    I just want to echo Brad and Zach’s earlier comments. This series has been incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  18. Dan R.

    Ooh, the new song sounds very potent, as it mostly does by the time it reaches our eyes/ears. Thanks for the post, and the series.

    In the interest of conversation, #16 Rob, yes, I’d thought of that too when I started listening! I’m always struck when I think about how many songs are out there about relationships that fail, and I love that we get to listen to so many songs from the folks around here about when and how relationships can work! It brings joy to my heart and health to my bones!

  19. Loren Warnemuende

    Before I forget again, or am sidetracked refereeing kids, I have a question that connects with the whole theme of finding a tune. This is one for all the songwriters out there. Do you find it difficult to come up with original tunes and avoid redundancy? How do you avoid the quagmire of modern copyright laws? I mean, you look back at the greats of old, and many of them created incredible music by taking someone else’s theme and completely reworking it. I think of hymns, too, that use and reuse folk-tunes, etc.

    I hope that makes sense. It’s something I’ve wondered for a while, particularly when new worship songs in church seem to be more and more repetitive, or worse, unsingable.

  20. Michael

    Call me crazy, but after you get finished with this series (which I’m loving btw), I think you should do a similar one for writing a book. It would be spectacular.

  21. Collin Bullard

    When you guys dreamed up the Rabbit Room, this must be the kind of thing you had in mind… sharing the process as much as the product. There’s beauty in both, as you’ve shown well. Thanks.

  22. Joy C

    THANK YOU so much.

    “A man’s reach must always exceed his grasp, or what’s a Heaven for?…”
    “A woman’s reach must always exceed her grasp, or what’s a Heaven for?…”

  23. Elizabeth of the Kirk in the Woods

    Wow. Thank you, Andrew. Thank you.

    (I’d be happy with ten parts… * begs * )

  24. Alex Pruckler

    I love this new song. It’s beautiful. I have this song stuck in my head now. If this song is catchy and stuck in my head now, that tells me something about this song: it’s a good song with beautiful lyrics! Your music is a blessing. I appreciate you sharing your struggles and fears in song writing for this new album. That’s a blessing. I’m praying for you in this journey regarding the production of this new album! I’m looking forward to hearing it!


  25. MargaretW

    I love how you describe the magic fading the more concrete the work becomes. You put words to something I feel every time I write a poem or chapter in a novel.

    I bought my son a guitar for Christmas. He strums it nonstop, practicing chords. He says boldy, “I want to be a music major and have a career in music.” I say, “What does the Lord want you to do with your gifts? Could you see yourself doing what Andrew Peterson does?” I mean that to say God is using your gifts to speak to the hearts of his people and speak truth to those who don’t know Him at all. In those moments when you are discouraged because you are not “top 40” remember God is using you for His glory. I can’t wait to get to Heaven when we have the full picture of all that your music has done for His kingdom. Isn’t that worth far more than headlining an arena?

  26. Mark Geil

    I add my thanks. This is the difference between meeting a stranger for the first time and finally meeting someone after you’ve learned the story of their birth and childhood and their fascinating journey to adulthood.

    And my goodness: “And we dream in the night / Of a King and a kingdom / Where joy writes the songs / And the innocent sing them”


  27. Taran

    I loved the song, but the take-away for me is that Billy Joel needs to get his butt back into some NYC bars and start pretending to be a writer again.

  28. Joy C

    Oh Andrew, This is so beautiful.
    And I second what one of the Pickle sisters wrote:
    “LOVE the raw jam clip. Sure wouldn’t mind that being a reprise at the end of the album.”
    Could you? Would you?!? It is so lovely. You could have it at the end of the cd, and have it fade out into “shimmering beyond the veil somewhere…”

    Thank you all. love, Joy

  29. Bruce Hennigan

    My daughter turns 25 next month. She has struggled with epilepsy since age 8. Just the other day we were talking about her disease. She said it was a gift from God so she can know what others are going through. We talked about how the “fire that consumes us”, that is, our suffering in this world can be turned into a fire that will show the love of Christ; a light in the darkness! You have no idea how much this song means to me now. I talked to my son today and told him how this idea of carrying the fire came from watching Frodo again taking the ring to Mt. Doom; of watching one of my daughter’s best friends now struggling with a crippling disease and seeing my daughter minister to her; or realizing that in all that happens to us, God shines through with his love and power and burns away that which we seem to think is so important. I can’t wait to hear the entire album. You continue to amaze me with your lyrics and the power of the stories God is writing through you!

  30. April Pickle

    Just clarifying for the sweet #35, Joy C. The Pickles are mother and daughter, me being the former. Humbling to admit because the 17-year-old’s comment was much better than her mother’s was. We were commenting at the same time in different rooms, not knowing that the other was doing so!

  31. Dan R.

    Despite “The Pickle Sisters” being a pretty groovy name for whatever kind of team you’ve got, be it a band of musicians or a band of superheroines, I’m gonna go with the unintentionally co-commenting Pickle family For The Win!

  32. Matt Conner

    This is beautiful. A great read and a great first look at a song. Appreciate your heart and your willingness to share, Andrew.

  33. David

    Been thinking about this quote about the interaction of form and story:

    But you also have to be willing to follow your nose. You have to be willing to let the song go where it wants. I think that’s the best question to ask, when you come to a writing crossroads: “Where does the story want to go?”

    Wendell Berry wrote a tremendous essay called Poetry and Marriage, where he compared choosing a poem’s form to choosing a spouse — with the effect that the form will shape the content. The form, then, is the thing the writer covenants with, and that covenant will hold the writer and discipline his writing. Here, you seem to be taking the writing process up from the other side: The content, the big vision, the idea, is what we covenant with; the form, the thing affected.

    Both are valid ways to approach writing; so long as the writer submits to the discipline of following the form in the one case, following the clues in the other.

  34. JJ

    Listening to the early recording (which left me with goosebumps), then reading the lyrics (which had tears welling up in my eyes), then watching the video (I can already tell this is going to be one of my favorites), I’m increasingly thankful for your music AP. I’m typically a heavy metal kind of guy, but your music always blesses me. If I’m going through a trial, there’s an AP song for it! And it lifts my heart and my soul and fills them with gratefulness to God for his love and grace and mercy towards me. My mind may have been miles away from Him, until I hear songs like this. And instantly it’s there and I can’t see anything else.

    That being said, in case it wasn’t already obvious, I can’t wait to hear the new album!

  35. Matthew

    It’s beautiful Andrew. Thanks for posting. I’ll be honest, I’m tearing up already. I may not be song writer, but I’m finding myself writing more and more, especially after writing a Novelia; and I get what you are saying (especially about not being able to put down all you thought out). You broke the story down the right way as well, you gave us a tune, gave us a mood, then beautiful lyrics to drive them both home. I will say that one one occasion I wrote something and I didn’t change a thing. It may not be perfect on re-reading, but it is right and I wouldn’t change it for anything (especially since it is about my wife). I hope and pray for your friend that inspired your lyrics, many a weary sinner looks for the final resting place.

  36. Ehren

    Often the recording process seems shrouded in mystery. We hear the finished product, but have no idea what went into making it. We don’t hear the crumpling of draft after draft or feel the uncertainty of starting on a creative journey of unknown destination. Thanks for giving us a glimpse.

    On another note, please consider including an ELECTRIC GUITAR SOLO on one of the songs. (Right after the bridge would be perfect.)

  37. Ophelia Flowers

    “But the song as it’s written is never as beautiful as it was in that fleeting, exhilarating moment of inspiration. The song’s potential is shimmering beyond the veil somewhere, while the song that you finally write is almost always haunted by a feeling of disappointment. When people talk about a book or a song being not so much finished as abandoned, that’s what they mean. They had a picture in their minds or a feeling in their heart that they’re trying to bring into space and time, and there’s just no way (yet) to deliver it in fulness. The song in reality is as different from what you imagined as a portrait is from the painter’s subject. At some point (usually thanks to the mercy of a deadline), you have to put down the brush and give thanks for the chance to have made an attempt.”

    Wow. This- this is exactly how it feels. I’ve never heard someone capture what it feels like as perfectly as this.

    I love the new music, beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us. 😀


  38. randy d

    Sounds like a lot of fun and pressure at the same time. I thought you wouldn’t care so much as long as it was what you wanted. Kind of scary hearing how your mind works. I think you could learn a lot from Skye. Hearing this is really inspiring, but I won’t quit my day job. I will start praying before I play. Don’t know what the hurry always is. Thanks for sharing brother!

  39. Andrew Peters

    Hey Andrew,
    Other than sharing the same name (basically), and the same Savior, I’ve listened and supported everything you’ve done for a decade. I was in Columbus for your show a few weeks ago (featuring SCC) and you played a song for your son (“Old Roads” I believe) that I’ve told at least 50 people about since that night. As I’ve read your process with rapt entusiasm, I’ve also wondered about your journey with that particular song. What you said that night was achingly beautiful, and if there was to be a part 4, I’d sure love a mention or two of how the writing came to be on something so obviously personal. Thank you for the songs that stand as mile markers in my life. I treasure them.

  40. Nate

    Do you ever have people that come up to you and say, “Why don’t you write more explicitly about social/political/justice issues, like gender, race, and class? Don’t you care about that stuff?” Do these issues or comments come up in your writing process? I ask because one of the opening verse to “Come, Lord Jesus”, which is one of my favorite songs of yours. I felt you really called people out on bigotry, “told the truth”, and were prophetic (I think you still do that, which is why you’re one of the few Christian singer/songwriters I listen to)…

    I also ask because I feel like you’re the one songwriter I know of who could really write about subjects like “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” or “God of the Oppressed”, both by James Cone, or the phrase from liberation theologians that “God has a preferential option for the poor.” I’ve read these recently and thought, “Man, I wish Andy P. had some songs wrestling with this… He’d be able to sing these songs…”

    So excited to hear your new album. I have all of your albums, and have loved the changing seasons… My mom tried to by me a copy of “Walk” one time, so that the collection would be complete:-)… I know it was your first, but it’s amazing to see the journey, and even the beginnings of the journey, which have been an integral part of my journey. It’s like listening to U2’s “I Will Follow”, and then listening to “Where the Streets Have No Name” and then listening to “Walk On” (or something more recent). Looking forward to the next season…

  41. jen

    “But the song as it’s written is never as beautiful as it was in that fleeting, exhilarating moment of inspiration. The song’s potential is shimmering beyond the veil somewhere, while the song that you finally write is almost always haunted by a feeling of disappointment. When people talk about a book or a song being not so much finished as abandoned, that’s what they mean. They had a picture in their minds or a feeling in their heart that they’re trying to bring into space and time, and there’s just no way (yet) to deliver it in fulness. The song in reality is as different from what you imagined as a portrait is from the painter’s subject.”

    You just summed up what I have felt forever – this glimpse of what I want my finished piece to be, with which I can never end. This is the difficulty of creativity for me.

    Thank you.

  42. Lydia

    When I listened to the recording from that day in the sound check the tune made the back of my scalp prickle, I LOVE it!!

  43. charles kossivi

    Hello AP,
    Thank you so much for these series of insightful resources and testimonies. They are truly inspiring and quite challenging. Thanks again!
    You said something about asking for help in one of the posts, and it reminded me of something people say back home on the west coast of Africa, “a beggar must have the furthest reach of all” (give or take few translation mistake ahahaha). I am going to reach my arm very far right now and ask you for help.
    I am putting together a home studio, because I can (like everyone else here) afford to pay for demos. I would be forever thankful if you would pass down to me whatever you guys have and are not using. I don’t care how old, vintage or malfunctioning. Please, please, please, whatever it is, from instrument to gear. To get and idea of what I am doing you can take a look at my music here
    I would have asked for more advice on songwriting etc, but that would be lying to you because at this moment the studio is what’s stealing my sleep.
    If you do not have any, please do not feel bad, just think of me as you pray and the Lord will provide.

    Thank you so much AP.

  44. Lori B

    Love the video. Also for some reason the reference to George MacDonald’s knowing by obeying idea has stuck with me all weekend, and has really given direction to my thoughts and our difficult spiritual journey at the moment. I was reminded I’d rather know God and walk this difficult road with Him than coast through life my own way without Him. I know that wasn’t what the post was about, but it encouraged me anyway.

    And really enjoyed watching the video with my 20 month old singing along in baby gibberish in my lap. Priceless.

  45. JR

    “The song’s potential is shimmering beyond the veil somewhere, while the song that you finally write is almost always haunted by a feeling of disappointment.” Yes. In a moment of insanity, I decided to write a novel for NaNoWriMo a few years ago based on a lyric from a song (not one of yours, AP–please feel free to be either offended or relieved by that fact, take your pick). Once the image painted by the lyrics popped into my head, I knew I’d have to write it or nobody ever would–and the thought of it never existing seemed wrong to me. So I spent a month typing away in all of my spare time (I discovered that I have much more spare time than I thought) and was left with my first novel.

    Having never written a novel before, I have no idea whether the thing is brilliant or crap. I refused to even look at it for several months after I finished it. I suspect now, that it’s probably mostly crap–earnest in the way that only first novels can be, and probably far too literal. But the idea…the potential…it was beautiful.

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