I am alone in a small town in Texas, working for the Company, an introvert, living in a hotel, eating alone in restaurants, defaulting to invisibility rather than seeking out relationship.  The last thing I want to do is call attention to myself.


But still the creative spark burns.  Creativity and ego have been locked in an uneasy dance for over 40 years.  Sometimes there’s just a nanosecond between the spark and the thought, what will they think of this? It’s hard to remember that the spark came first.  It’s easy to think I am only doing this for the attention it brings to myself.  My actions are never pure.


I remember Bruce Cockburn standing before an adoring ovation at the end of a concert, his face a sunfield of smiles, like he was reflecting all the positive energy back onto the audience.  I thought,How does he do that? Why doesn’t he trip on his own wires?


I drive out to a quiet, flat place in the middle of the night.  This is Texas. Every place is flat, and the stars at night are big and bright.  I don’t have a musical instrument, just my sagging buffalo hoop drum.  I set into a simple rhythmic pattern while silently entreating the Divine.  I am so lost. I am so confused.  Help me.


I start singing these words:


O Holy Spirit, come to me in my weakness.

Light of the stars, sweet music of the ocean

Break like the morning into my darkness, sweet Jesus.

Not by the might of the spirit of power

But by the light of the power of spirit…


That’s a pretty good song, I tell myself.  I think people will like it. . .

—Jim Nail