Week 8: Belief In Fiction

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Mount Everest - Belief In Fiction Featured Performers:
Nick Mastors
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
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At the turnstile
You’ll catch your breath
You wore your sturdy clothes
But lost your cigarettes

The world will speak to you
Reveal its name to you
And ask its price of you

And in your suitcase
A dusty book
And every chapter gives your life a second look

It only lives for you
It’ll never lie to you
And it won’t die for you

This I believe
The story holds the proof we will recieve
Who with your dying cough
Swore this is not the world for us
If this is not the world for us
Then why are we so desperate to believe

I believe in fiction
This I believe
That my generation
Came awake on New Years Eve

We are the best of us
We are the worst of us
We are the first of us

They’re at my doorstep
And this I fear
That it’s a fiction that the answers could appear

There was a god for us
A simple cause for us
There is an Oz for us

This I believe
The son of man endeavored to recieve
Who with his dying cough
Swore this is not the world for us
If this is not the world for us
Then what are we so desperate to believe

When I originally conceived of putting words to this song, I was inspired by the classic series of radio essays known as This I Believe. Legendary radio newsman, Edward R. Murrow initially hosted the show in the 1950s, and it has more recently been resurrected on NPR. The format is simple: Americans of all walks of life read essays on what defines their core value system. It is a diverse and wonderful format, and every time I have listened to it, I have found myself deep in self-reflection. I wanted to write a song that would function as my own entry to This I Believe. However, when I began to write the words to this song, it quickly began to stray from being strictly a discussion of my core values, and became more of a reflection on the power of stories.

This song is about the deep connection that human beings have with stories: the way we project our own lives into them, the way we use fiction to inform our ambitions, values, and choices, and the way that we rely on stories to make sense of the world. After all, what is the first thing you pack when you go away? For me it’s a book (okay – sometimes it’s a comic book, but those count too).

Some people insist that the world’s religions are fictions. That is not my aim here, although it may seem so. Rather, I wish to elevate the entire pantheon of fiction to the level of esteem to which religious people hold the stories that they tell within their faiths. A great story feels like a holy document to me, just the way that a great painting, or a great song can hold so much weight. They contain amazing truths which are unique to each individual reader (or listener – please preserve verbal storytelling!). They can guide us, or misguide us. They have the power to change us.

I am so pleased to share the instrumental credit with Nick Mastors again this week. As always he brings an insight all his own. What strikes me the most about working with Nick is how complete his ideas are as soon as he has them. He hears a part in his head fully formed and needs only to translate it to his fingertips. Meanwhile I must chop away in trial and error until something sounds right. I sure wish I could do what he does.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.

Mount Everest – 12345678
In celebration of our first two months of existence, and in thanks to all of you who have listened, commented, told your friends, and come back again, I am pleased to announce that I have posted the first 8 Mount Everest tracks as a free download! It is a mini-album called Mount Everest – 12345678 and it is a fine retrospective of the last 8 weeks worth of tunes in the order that they were originally presented. Download it, share it with your friends, and tell them where you got it. But you should hurry, because this thing wont be download-able forever. In two weeks I will take it down and that will be that. So thank you for your participation, and thanks for coming back each week. You are my favorite people on earth and I love you all very much.

No longer available for download

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