Monday, October 18, 2010

Novel Songs: #2 Waiting for the Miracle

The second Novel Song I'd like free rights to use is Leonard Cohen's Waiting for the Miracle. Cohen is probably my favorite song writer. In fact, we wrote a novel (Beautiful Loser) that's lyrical and worth the strangeness. I'm sure he decided that applying his talents to songwriting was more profitable and satisfying.

Although I'm not given to enjoying concerts, my husband and I made a pilgrimage to Calgary to see him last year. He's in his 80s and we live in the sticks so we worried it would be one of our last chances.

This youtube concert footage looks like it's from the same tour.

Still sexy after all these years. I remember a couple of Cohen songs in the 80s; I think it was the 80s, but I didn't like either of them. I wasn't until I was well into my thirties, that I somehow rediscovered Cohen and fell in love. If I had to listen to one voice and one songwriter for the rest of my life, he could be it.

You can buy the song here. I've included most of my favorite Cohen songs, but only a couple are featured in the book draft.

Here's a tich of how the song is integrated in my W.I.P.

Her blue guitar gleamed; it’s steel strings, catching the snow-bounced light pouring in the rows of windows. She ran her thumb across the calloused pads of her left hand and slipped out of the pew. She walked cautiously down the center aisle toward her guitar, a processional of memories moving with her. They always did when she played... Sometimes she even played their songs — the thirty-three they’d chosen for the first gig — and sometimes she imagined there was nothing to forgive and she’d never lost them. She could call up Nikki or Starr and…but it had been too long for a long time. Construction light blared through the window. She could not forgive. Herself. Or them. Lauren slung her guitar across her hips and strummed the opening chord of the song that had been humming since the drive home, number twelve on the list.

I know you really loved me.
but, you see, my hands were tied.
I know it must have hurt you,
it must have hurt your pride
to have to stand beneath my window
with your bugle and your drum,
and me I'm up there waiting
for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

The chords sounded thin and bare unplugged. Snow fell and slid in a wet whisper on the pitched roof. She walked a progression up the neck and felt it. Something crushing inward inside. She’d been menstruating for, what, thirty years. She knew, she wasn’t pregnant. Doctor Millner had told her this would happen. Her clockwork twenty-eight-day cycle would go off — twenty-four days, thirty. It was day thirty-one. She hadn’t even been pregnant; she’d used up all her chances.

I didn't see the time,
I waited half my life away
There were lots of invitations
and I know you sent me some
but I was waiting
for the miracle

for the miracle to come.

Lauren paced back down the aisle to her pew and lifted the rejected cigarette. Guitar still swaddling her hips, she pushed out The Church door. She lit the cigarette and stared through pooling smoke and veils of confetti snow at the accusing whore car. Dead calm, she knew. Even part-time smokers have a special relationship with wind. Lauren knew it was dead calm. She inhaled. She was glad; she didn’t want to be bound to him like that, like new baby binds you to a man, to the life you’ve ended up with. If she wasn’t going to have a baby, at least she’d have the possibility of freedom.

Ah I don't believe you'd like it,
You wouldn't like it here.
There ain't no entertainment
and the judgements are severe.
when you're waiting
for the miracle, for the miracle to come.


Lauren touched Starr’s face in the photograph. Starr had swooped into Lauren’s life, twigs and drums, and saved her, at least that’s what Lauren had thought all those years ago. Lauren blew a jet of smoke out her nose. She’d been wrong about a lot of things, beginning with Starr.

Nothing left to do
when you know that you've been taken
Nothing left to do
when you're begging for a crumb
Nothing left to do
when you've got to go on waiting
waiting for the miracle to come

The rational thing would be to ask Matt to fingerprint the photo, but Lauren couldn’t afford rational. One of them must have sent it. Probably not Starr.

The Church darkened; they’d switched off the construction lights. But they’d be back at it tomorrow and the next day, blasting and digging at the mountain.

Ah baby, let's get married,
we've been alone too long.
Let's be alone together.
Let's see if we're that strong.
Yeah let's do something crazy,
something absolutely wrong
while we're waiting
for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

Lauren shuddered and stepped off the boardwalk, a solitary figure, letting the snow fall on her shoulders, on her blue guitar, on the photo. The first flake fell on her immaculate face. The moisture worked a truth serum; smooth skin buckled, flush lips contracted, a black-lashed eye smeared. She watched that night play again in her hands. Whoever sent it, whatever it meant, Lauren wasn’t up for it.

* * * *

So Leonard, if you'd like to give me the rights to use Waiting for the Miracle in my WIP novel, just say so.

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