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Verse Chorus Verse: Glen Phillips – “Thankful”

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Well I've done it again.  I've written a check and now my butt has to cash it.  I pledged yesterday to spend this month writing about thankfulness and the blessings in my life as way to cast off my usual role of Scrooge where Christmas is concerned.  It's one thing to say you're going to do it, something else to actually sit down at the computer and follow through.  So, here we go.  Welcome to my Verse Chorus Verse miniseries 'What Would Tiny Tim Do?'

I don't know why Glen Phillips' music and thankfulness seem to go hand-in-hand for me, but it does.  Maybe it's because he's got a song called "Thank You" and "Thankful." 

I've started with this song for a couple reasons, the first of which is obvious.  The chorus has the line "we've got a lot to be thankful for" and despite my tendency towards complaining, I believe that.  I know I'm blessed.  I know I'm fortunate.

The other reason has to do with the way this little project of mine unfolded.  I started with the jokey proposition of starting the holiday season with Guns N' Roses' song "Out Ta Get Me" in mind.  I thought it was funny.  I knew I wanted to somehow deal with my mixed feelings towards this "most wonderful time of the year."  What I didn't anticipate when I started that entry was the pledge I'd take at the end.  That's when I remembered the second verse of Phillips' "Thankful:"

Forgive me, my tongue
It doesn't know what it's doing
It used to get washed out
Now it's undisciplined and crude

That feels familiar.  Any of you who've spent any time in conversation with me or read enough of my writing know I can throw in a few more colorful metaphors.  I have a biting sense of humor that can be an acquired taste for some and downright offputting to others.  I don't go out of my way to offend.  It just seems to happen.

I'm losing my language
And calling a truce
And the shape of the thoughts in my head
Aren't right for the words I've got to use

This passage really underscores some of my challenges as a writer.  It's a brilliant way of expressing the inability to express myself and the feeling that words are sometimes inadequate to express what's in my head and in my heart.  Some writers always seem to have the tools to express themselves.  I'm still a work in progress.  I nail some topics while others completely elude me. 

I'm still thankful for the tools I have and I'm in love with a lifetime pursuing language and the ability to manipulate and use it to express myself and connect with others through it.  I'm thankful for the inroads I've made and for the path that lies ahead, waiting to be discovered.  For example, I'm thankful for the unplanned challenge I've set before myself.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn something about myself this next month.  I had no idea I'd wander this way but I'm glad I have.  I have no idea where it's going to lead and I'm thankful for that and the opportunity to find out.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • MM

    My favorite Thanksgiving song.

  • Josh Hathaway

    I’ve taken a little liberty in the interpretation, but I think I made it work for my purposes here. Great song.

  • MM

    Don’t worry, I was just having fun with my Thanksgiving comment since bombardment of Christmas songs has started A lot of the times I use song titles for titles of my own blog. Coincidentally, I used “Thankful” for my Thanksgiving Post this year. It is a great song that I have heard Glen play long before it was on an album.

  • Josh Hathaway

    I took no offense. I understood what you meant. Great choice for a Thanksgiving-themed song.