The Swell Season

So last night I watched a documentary on the band The Swell Season. I’ve been wanting to see this documentary for a pretty good while now. The funny thing is, I actually had no idea how much this was going to impact me in such a personal way. From the first five minutes in, till the moment the credits came up, I realized this was going to be far more than just a documentary for me. This documentary symbolized, in many ways, the very state of my well being emotionally, and mentally.

The Swell Season is about the crazy rapid rise to fame of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the stars of the Oscar award winning movie “Once,” and the journey through the chaos that was their real life relationship through all the madness of being thrust into the spotlight over the movie, and more specifically, the song “Falling Slowly.”

I’ve always loved this band, and have always loved Glen’s passion that so genuinely and transparently shines through in his writing and performing. I’ve always felt a sense of kinship between us as writers, if I may so boldly say. The interesting thing is, I had no idea to what extent that kinship actually reached. After watching this documentary, hearing his struggles as an artist and the deep and dark demons he fights on a daily basis, I realized we have so much in common. I was watching this documentary with my mom, and at the end, as the credits started rolling, before I could even say anything, my mom turned to me and said “You need to do that, you need to just go.” As I began to explain to her that it isn’t just that easy, that I need a recording first to book shows, that I need to pull musicians together, etc… She stopped me and said “you don’t need anything, this is the perfect time. You need to go and do what you do.” The thing is, when she said those things, my heart skipped a beat in the sheer excitement of the possibility of leaving. Every time I think about just taking off, playing anywhere and everywhere, my heart starts racing, my palms get sweaty, my eyes tear up a little, and my stomach turns. My mind begins to flood with images, sights, sounds, smells. My body, quite literally, goes into overdrive. Nothing, and I mean nothing, excites me more than the dream of just taking off and playing music, its probably why I’m so terrified to take that first step and make it happen. It is, by far, my ultimate dream.

When I really start to think about it, I realize that now IS the perfect time in many ways. Nothing is really keeping me in Chattanooga. No one in particular is keeping me here. Well, there IS someone I’d want to want to keep me here, but thats really an irrelevant situation in my life right now. My church could keep me here, but who’s to say I can’t work around that and be gone a couple or a few weeks at a time? I realized last night that I have to stop making excuses, trying to deflect from the real issue…I’m afraid. I have every reason to be terrified really. Who wouldn’t be terrified about the fact that they are taking that huge first step towards making their dream come true, with the complete and utter probability of it failing. You see, in one of my most recent blog entries, I talked about the idea of super-heroes, and how we all have this desire to be a hero. We all want to be the one that rises up, overcoming all the odds, being the anomaly that proves them all wrong. The reality is, if most of us are given that opportunity, we wimp out before we even get started. Fear is weird like that. We let fear control us, we let it make our decisions. Fear is an awful thing in these contexts. The thing is, I also worry every single month how my bills are getting paid, how I’ll put gas in my car, how i’ll eat, and yet somehow it works out. I’m constantly afraid of really putting myself out there, and yet every area of my life is screaming for me to do just that…to risk it all.

Its weird that such a small indie documentary could have such a huge impact, but it definitely did. I would strongly recommend it if you’re into the indie vibe and love music. If you have a desire for something to stir up some inspiration for you to go out and achieve the impossible, this film is for you. Its a great true story of passion, heroism, struggle, and the eventual reconciliation that brings about forgiveness and acceptance. Definitely check it out!


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