Writer's Commentary: Sing

On Post: Sing

Date: January 21, 2013

Find it here 

This entry owes much of its existence to the film Charlie Bartlett. And I’m pretty sure that’s one of the, if not THE, first time(s) that sentence has been uttered.

Watch out Kat! Male gaze alert! (from www.ouchpress.com)

Watch out Kat! Male gaze alert! (from www.ouchpress.com)

In the film, Kat Dennings, playing the daughter of Robert Downey Jr.’s high school principal and the love interest of Anton Yelchin, sings the Yusuf Islam (you may know him as Cat Stevens) classic, If You Want to Sing, Sing Out. When the randomizer brought me Sing by Travis, this other song was the first that popped into my head. Thus, even after I realized it was a different song, listened to the right one, and looked up the lyrics, that scene, and thus, that song, was still kicking around my head.

The movie casts the song as a sort of transcendent, musical balm; singing as healing, if you will. Travis’s tune, while not carrying the same deep soulfulness, stakes real estate on the same block (if you can forgive that odd metaphor).

Martha is an arguably more dire situation than the teens of Charlie Bartlett—although some of them are certainly struggling in very real ways—but the message is the same. Singing can/is saving us.

As far as why a poem…I don’t know. I’m just all about the feelings of inadequacy it brings out of me, perhaps?