Always Answer

A “trilling” tale: In 1931, the legendary musical composer Jerome Kern was awakened early one morning by a bird singing outside his window. Its song enchanted him: he woke up his wife Eva so she could hear it. The bird flew away. Hoping to remember its lovely melody, Jerry sang it over and over to himself, then fell asleep.

When he woke up again, he started to write down the theme he’d heard. To his frustration, he  could not summon up the notes of the bird’s song correctly. He tried to puzzle them out at his piano, but soon gave up: The simple, haunting melody seemed lost forever.

Then the universe stepped in: the bird reappeared the next morning. This time, Jerry was ready: He grabbed a pencil and paper and, tiptoeing downstairs to his piano while his family was asleep, he wrote down the tune. Later he recalled, “It was a complete phrase and a perfectly rounded melodic treatment.”

The bird was a sparrow and its warbling inspired the song, “I’ve Told Every Little Star.” His partner, Oscar Hammerstein, found it difficult to craft lyrics to the catchy tune and wrote, ‘Jerry got the melodic theme from a bird. He swears it! He heard a finch outside the window singing the first line and he built a refrain on it. There were times when I wished the finch had kept his big mouth shut!” Here’s the heart of the song that fleeting finch inspired:

I’ve told ev’ry little star,
Just how sweet I think you are,
Why haven’t I told you?

I’ve told ripples in a brook,
Made my heart an open book,
Why haven’t I told you?

Friends ask me: Am I in love?
I always answer “Yes”,
Might as well confess,
If I don’t they guess.

Maybe you may know it too,
Oh, my darling, if you do,
Why haven’t you told me, dear,
why haven’t you told me?”

Wonderful story, isn’t it? Two takeaways jump out at me: 1) Inspiration is everywhere, and 2) When it calls, “always answer, ‘Yes!’” Write on!


About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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