One of my favorite songs in Helen, is "Letters." To me the creation of that song truly felt like some kind of magical synergy between author, lyricist and composer. When writing the scene and song, Wendi's words just seemed to be crying out to be musicalized.
Here's the actual text from Wendi's story:
Every night I write a letter to my father. I don’t send them—I don’t know where to send them—but, still, I write them. I keep the letters at the back of my closet in old shoe boxes. I am on my third box. It’s getting so full that I have to keep the lid tied down with rubber bands.
I want to write “Mom is talking about the water again. I think this means she is thinking of you. We are both thinking of you, though we don’t mention your name. Are you thinking of us? Do you ever sit on the shore at night and wonder what we’re doing, what we’re thinking? Do you miss us as much as we miss you?” But instead I write, “I am in a play about the Trojan War. I get to wear a short white tunic, and I ambush people from inside a big fake horse. Even though we win the war, it will be many, many years before I return home. Until I see my family again. In this way, we are the same. I will have many adventures. I will meet giants and witches and see strange lands. Is that what you are doing? I wish you could come to the play.”
What wonderful material to work with! And I didn't have to do much--just a little bit of this and a little bit of that to give it a musical structure. My lyrics then got sent off to Robby, who returned to me a song, that I think, perfectly captures the innocence, wisdom, heartache, yearning, and inner strength so characteristic of Vita, while still sounding like something a twelve year old would sing. (If they were to spontaneously start singing in their bedroom about their deepest feelings, of course.)
Today we added one more person to that artistic synergy: Taylor Bera, our little Vita. God bless Robby for letting me put the mp3 of him singing our 12 year old protagonist's song (and doing a lovely job, I might add). But now we've got the real deal. Listen to Taylor sing our "Letters" so beautifully, here.