I wrote this for Edenland’s Fresh Horses. If you were invited to a birthday party and the party-thrower had an open mic ready for you to say some of your favourite words, which ones would you choose?
Finding the perfect words for the right occasion? It’s like digging for fire. The Pixies were on to it. And I use it to describe my eternal quest for good words.
When it comes to finding words for birthday tributes I’m like a squirrel at a pile of nuts. Try stopping me. Nothing appeals more to my sentimental wordy soul.
I have done it many times already on this blog. I wrote something for my mum and my dad on the occasion of their 70th birthdays. I wrote something for my daughter and my son on their birthdays. I even wrote something for myself a few weeks ago when I turned 40. And I even wrote something for Bono on his birthday. Yep. Somebody stop me!
If I was cunning enough I’d whore my words out for birthday tribute services. Problem being that I don’t easily manufacture something that isn’t from the pit of my heart. No stronger motivation than love and respect.
But confronted by the impromptu open mic at a birthday party? And no words of my own prepared? It’s always handy to have some-one else’s to borrow.
So many to choose from. It would all come down to gauging the pulse the pulse of the party. And it would depend on my mood too.
If I felt terribly hip, I’d sing this:
It’s no secret that a conscience can sometimes be a pest
It’s no secret, ambition bites the nails of success
Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief
All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief.
~ U2, The Fly
If I felt idealistic, I’d proclaim this:
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
If I felt profound, I’d fumble for this:
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.
~ Ayn Rand
If I felt poetic, I’d ease into this:
A piece of hope spins out
bright along the dark and is not lost in space;
verity is a burning boomerang;
love is out orbiting and will
And if I felt tender, I pour out this:
If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.
~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
But Eden, since it’s your birthday tomorrow, I’m imagining I’m standing at the mic at your imaginary party, and I’m going with this:
To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.
~ Arundhati Roy
Happy Birthday, Eden. Dig it up.