It is one situation that is agonizing, that you can’t really describe. You travel and see unbelievable things sometimes and there’s a loneliness about not being able to share that directly with your best friend.
For example last year I was over in Israel and Palestine and experienced about eight days just kind of trekking through the countryside and hanging out with the Palestinians Christians of which there are a lot of and their story is not told and it’s a deeply sad story. And I remember lying at night and feeling incredible loneliness; I’ll never be able to share this. You’ve got to be here to get it, and just wishing Nanci, my wife, was there and just wishing in my own sort of ripped up soul I could just lean over and touch her hair or her hand or anything. And knowing that no matter what I say to her, I can’t fully share this. There’s an essential loneliness that comes with that.
So I come back and Bruce has written this beautiful love song. He was experiencing something he couldn’t share: “All the ways I want you.” It’s this phenomenal love song. And I thought, man, that’s my song. I should have written that; he got it first.
I have this feeling that songs actually pre-exist anyway. We don’t actually write them. They’re like angels floating around the stratosphere and whoever has their antenna up as they float by gets the song. And so I think it’s okay to say, hey, that’s my song. I should have gotten it but I was watching ‘Survivor’ I guess, and he wasn’t so he got it first.
A quote from Paul Valéry in Sheila Bender’s Writing Personal Poetry:
“When a poem compels one to read it with passion...the reader feels he is ‘momentarily its author.’ That is how he knows the poem is beautiful.” Reading and writing poetry are two lanes on the same street.