Songs in the Key of Change (1)

I can’t imagine a world without rhythm and harmony.

CS Lewis went so far as to imagine the world of Narnia sung into creation. In The Magician’s Nephew, Polly and Digory find themselves in a darkness so cold and dry it was “uncommonly like Nothing.” It was so dark that it made no difference whether you kept your eyes shut or opened.

Then a voice begins to sing which was, ‘beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise they had ever heard.’ Music so beautiful they could hardly hear it. It was accompanied by an explosion of light, colour and splendour as life in all its manifestations came into being. Now that’s a creation story that hums.

If music is creation then music must also be change’s companion. It certainly plays an enlivening role in just about everything I do. If I can’t find a rhythm when I’m writing, enterprising, speechifying, proposing, organizing or advocating my work is flat and lifeless. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

To honour the songs that infuse and ennoble us I am launching an occasional series called, “Songs in the Key of Change.” (Yes that’s a nod to Stevie Wonder.) I’ll post the first one tomorrow. In the meantime stay tuned.

Just for Fun

My latest book, Impact is a hit parade of references to Canadian songs. It was my attempt to be hip. Tragically. (Yikes, I can’t believe I wrote that.) Some are obvious like the Neil Young inspired sub-title, “Searching for a Heart of Gold,” in Pattern Five. Others are embedded in the text. For example, the phrase ‘one warm line’ in the concluding chapter is taken from  the Stan Rogers song, “Northwest Passage.”

To save me from counting them all I’m launching a contest – Impact Swings. The closest guess to the number of song-writing references in Impact gets 10 free copies including shipping. Send your list of references plus the name of the song or songwriter to al at impact6 dot ca. Contest ends February 29, 2016. Count early and count often!


To keep you company while you are counting have a listen to Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald with a positively jumping version of Duke Ellington’s It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing.


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