Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Pain In Living: Colbert, Kennedy and Cash

Stephen Colbert was a guest on The View today.  He was promoting the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.   Stephen questioned Barbara Walters on why he has never been one of the 10 Most Fascinating People of the Year.  I think he convinced her by the end of his segment that he was fascinating.  He spoke about his father and two brothers dying in a plane crash when he was 10 years old (he's the youngest of 11 children) and how his mother was able to carry on with nine kids.  She told him, "If you can accept your suffering, you can understand other people's pain." What an impact that statement has. 

Ironically, Maria Shriver, who was the guest host on this episode of The View said basically the same thing about her uncle Ted Kennedy on Meet the PressHe was the most compassionate,
empathetic man. And I think he was that way because he himself was wounded and he himself knew pain, he himself knew struggle, he knew abandonment. He knew all of the things that pain a human being. And so when he saw other human beings in pain, or where their character was questioned or where they had loss, he was always the first person to reach out. And nobody does that who hasn't felt that way themselves.  But this was a man, you know, who had fought a lot, who had struggled a lot, who had been through a lot, and he understood when other people also went through a lot

Rosanne Cash's memoir Composed takes this full circle.  Her autobiography is filled with pain and suffering.  Losing four family members in a short period of time is traumatic, add to that brain surgery.  It gave her a different perspective on her life, but also revealed how it affected those around her.  She relays very touching moments on how her surgery impacted both her husband and young son.  I worked with Rosanne for 8 years and I've always known her to be both generous, understanding and open.  She is a rare songwriter who is able to convey reality in her songs, which are loosely biographical and always connect on a human level. 

Rosanne clearly states her disdain for her album Rhythm and Romance. It took one year to make.  She explains in her book, "At the end of that torturous year of recording, rerecording, mixing and remixing in three cities, with three producers, one executive producer and a lot of fighting, I found that I was suffering from a bizarre kind of trauma."  "I hated the process, I hated the record, I hated Eli Ball (her A and R man) and I did not even want to think about promotion and touring for the record, which for me had become nothing but a painful memory."   I love this record. It shows progression as a song writer.   The album is so easy to relate to.  She wrote I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me? after being nominated for a Grammy and losing.  The irony is she won the next year for this song.  I can't think of any female I know who can't relate to the following scenario she portrays:

It's the right time you know I feel fine tonight (I don't why you don't want me)
It's the right place I've got my new face tonight (I don't why you don't want me)
I'm in the right mind I've got my new shoes tonight (I don't why you don't want me)
I've got a new dress I couldn't care less tonight (I don't why you don't want me)

Second to No One is an emotional roller coaster,  one only Rosanne can put to music.

I don't know if this can last forever/ Cause I don't know what I can stand
I can love you like a man should be loved/ But I can't love half a man

Fast forward to her Rules of Travel album and the song September When It Comes.  The lyrics reflect a more mature view, but no less revealing. 

I cannot move a mountain now/ I can no longer run
I cannot be who I was then/ In a way,  I never was

Pain brings us closer to our own humanity, closer to the humanity of others. 

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