I’ve borrowed my post title from the beautiful song by Paul Simon For Emily Wherever I May Find Her. He was and is a tremendous influence on me as a songwriter, and I have always considered his songwriting to be more classical poetry than lyrical composition. Do I bow to him? Hell, yes. His songs took me through an extremely lonely childhood and into a spot-on guitar player and songwriter.
I was a kid when the song Mrs. Robinson . came out, maybe 10, and I remember our parish priest objecting to the song being played in church. He said, “Just because the song says, ‘Jesus loves you more than you can know…” doesn’t make it a song we can sing in church…” I was still wearing a plaid jumper in school in those days, but playing my guitar at home. And I played Mrs. Robinson, not having seen the movie or knowing what the song was about, but digging the vibe.
But Emily… Who was his Emily? Mine is Emily Dickinson, and the hard copy that shaped me was this verse:
“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can stop one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”
I think those lines will leave all Emilies… wherever we may find them in fine shape.
Thanks Paul. You made a big difference in my development as a writer and I am indebted to you.