A singer song-writer and his dream
She had high fever last night. She said she’d be all right by the morning. “It’s just a bug,” she said. But I got worried. I always get worried when she is sick. I held her hand as we tried to sleep side by side. When I fell asleep, I dreamt my lyrics again. I always dream in lyrics, maybe poems sometimes. Small short phrases, so ephemeral that by the time I reach to the pen and paper on the night table, they fly away. Sometimes I dream that I’ve already written them down only to wake up to the blank pieces of paper by my bedside. If I could only catch my dreams!
This morning Steve called. “Come to the shop Saturday,” he said. “You’ve got two pupils.” Ah those beginners...before they learn how to hold the guitar, they dream of playing like Andres Segovia. With only Jennie working regularly, at least something’s better than nothing. Ever since last month when club Blue Moon burned down, I’ve been without a job. So unfortunate because I had started doing so well. People were coming in to listen to my singing.
Jennie says not to worry that at least she has a job. Some job! She’s at the brink of losing it. Jennie, my frail, delicate, dainty butterfly! She wasn’t made for a menial job like this. So what if she spills things on customers’ clothing? Except the hot soup one. That I could understand. Who’d want a hot soup on their head? So what if she broke the handle of the oven or the egg-slicer? Everyone can break stuff. And, so what if she stabbed herself with a knife? She didn’t commit murder or hurt anyone else. Just an accident it was.
Every day something happens and she gets threatened with getting fired.
To tell the truth, I myself wonder why they keep her. Then I think, it must be because she is so pretty. Customers must be coming in order to see her. Even the guy who got the soup on his head still tipped her. How can anyone get mad at such beauty inside and out?
So much has happened in three days! Since I couldn’t bring my dreams to my writing, I thought of putting into song what I had in my mind. Just a few simple words, nothing else. Then, somehow when I put it to music, things fell into place. I rather liked it myself. It goes like this:
I dream of castles and kings,
I dream of many things,
I dream of waking up,
Then I dream of you.
The feel of a flower,
After a rain shower,
I dream of you.
We’ll make it some day, Rainbow Butterfly!
By my side, you stay, Rainbow Butterfly!
Till lights flicker away, Rainbow Butterfly!
Life is only a day, Rainbow Butterfly!
Next, to the guitar shop, a woman brought a precocious six year-old for her first lesson. At the end of the lesson, the girl asked me if I thought she could play. Although the guitar was too big for her, I said, “Sure, you can play if I can play.” Then she said, “But I don’t know how you play.” “Okay,” I said, “here’s the way I play.” So I had my first performance of the Rainbow Butterfly to a little girl.
By then, her mother had come into the store to pick her up and several customers had stopped by the cubicle where I taught, listening to me. Quite an audience they were, too. The little girl said, “But I never heard that song.” I said, “Because I made it up. I write my own songs. This one I wrote yesterday.”
Afterwards, a man who was listening to us gave me his card. It happened that he had a small recording studio. He was promising nothing but he was interested to hear me over there. So, I went yesterday, and now I have a contract.
Jennie says she was so excited that she wrapped the wrong leftovers for the wrong customer. Then, one of the customers came back and complained that he was given someone else’s leftovers.
It seems as if I can’t write enough songs for the recording company. They tell me to write, write, and write...but then, they are slow in promoting them. They say this business is done this way. First you hang on to fame by the skin of your teeth with only a few songs, so people get accustomed to you. Then you flood the market all you want. So, that means I’m writing for two years later.
I’ll never understand business.
In the meantime our recording studio was taken over by a real big name. They told me it was a great merger, whatever that means.
Jennie finally lost her job. Thank God! I told her, “Never mind the job. I’ll send you to school.” She has always admired public defenders and she has a good mind, too. She should study law. At the end of March, she came with me to the studio and she said some things to the new owners, after which they upped my contract. We have never seen so much money in our lives.
Rainbow Butterfly is number one at the charts. All the radio stations keep playing it. Some newspapers wrote that they liked my voice better than the song. If they only knew what goes into making any song! But it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to get picky at this stage of the game. I’ll take it whether they like my singing or my songs. Now, until school opens, Jennie stays at home with me everyday. I watch her face in the mornings and think how lucky I am. Not because of the contract, money, fame or anything. But because of her, Jennie, my Rainbow Butterfly.