... claiming that some god wrote your song is not the height of humility, it’s the height of arrogance. After all, you’re basically saying that of all the people on earth, the god you believe in chose to give you a particular song.(Full post here. Hat tip: Tom Slatter.)
Up to a point, I'm right there with Shattuck. I am also an unbeliever. I am also comfortable with my lack of belief.
Comfortable for the most part, anyway. When it comes to songwriting, it gets a little awkward.
See, I never intended to become a songwriter. One day, while musing about some hard-won insights, I sang three words. They were sort of related to my musings, but I hadn't been thinking those particular words, or about music. I hadn't realized I was about to sing. It was as though the words hadn't come from me at all.
Nothing quite that surreal ever happened again. When I wrote the rest of that song, and the others that followed, my efforts primarily involved ... well ... effort. Crafting a song meant rolling up my sleeves, going to work, and thinking up stuff with my own brain. Still, every now and again I'd get a flash of insight. As if someone or something outside of me had put the words in my head.
Again, I don't subscribe to a belief system in which a god or the universe gets personally involved in human affairs. I don't believe in muses either. But damn, they make pretty good metaphors for the way it feels when ideas come out of nowhere. And silly as it sounds coming from an atheist, I don't feel right claiming credit for the out-of-nowhere bits.
Unfortunately, I have no clue what to give credit to.
To the source of all those ideas, words, and notes: If you ever feel like divulging your identity, you know where to find me. I'll be happy to share royalties with you. 'til then, all I can offer is my undying gratitude.