Justine Wahlin

Where the River Flows

This Blog is as much about finding you as it is about helping you find me. I’m a singer songwriter and for me writing songs has always been about expressing emotions. At times there’s been a torrent that I could barely find enough vessels to contain, filling up song after song, at other times it has slowed to a trickle, small cups filling up over time and sometimes not at all.

I’m a writer who has emerged from a cup overflowing. It’s made me lazy, I sit back and receive. But now as a person who has evolved into a song writer through the pure imperative to hurry and write everything down, I find myself seeking real craft and skills, ways to tune into other channels. Now that my own river has slowed,and in many ways I’m grateful for that, I’m looking for ways to tap into the vast river of emotion that is humanity. This river is endless, a renewable energy.

In a recent chat with Dominic Miller he likened song writing to turning on the WiFi. Sitting with an active signal. Once even the faintest signal is received, it must be caught in the net, mounted on a board with a pin through the middle and examined thoroughly. To use another analogy, it’s like finding a specimen. If you decide it’s worth keeping, congratulations, this is a fragment, like a piece from an archaeological dig that now needs to be reconstructed. It’s rare that these fragments come with all the pieces so this is where the real work starts.

Work, there’s a terrifying word. To build on a fragment you need skills, patience and persistence. You need to be always on the hunt for more clues and be able to make educated guesses at what links the parts. If you don’t hone these skills you end up with a pile of fragments. Sometimes you need to find ways to put a bunch of pieces together in a way that makes a whole even if you start with what seems like a gathering mount of unrelated parts.

I’m someone who likes to finish things and I seem to have an ever higher pile of fragments, so I now need to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Along the way I’d like to post some of the fragments here and explore the ways they fit together.

If you’re a song writer or a writer, maybe you can relate? I encourage your feedback and ideas. I’d like to know how you find ways to keep creative channels open and the skills you use to build signals, fragments, ideas into well crafted works that are complete.

Where the river flows into the sea
You’ll find me riding on a raft to catch the sun
You’ll find me lying in a pearl
and in all the wondrous beauty in your eyes