Behind every feminist is a song that provides comfort, inspiration, validation, transcendence and most importantly for me: expression.
Until very recently, I’ve stammered and stuttered when asked, “What do you do?” Like many of you, my ‘job’ has changed a lot over the years, but it almost always involved music. These days, I’m confident and excited to trust that my number one answer is: I’m a songwriter.
A few years ago I wrote Snow. I was in the middle of writing a research paper on narcissism and had chosen to focus on the men who led The Bosnian War of 1992-1995. Interlibrary loans allowed me access to articles and movies that blew my mind and broke my heart. I was haunted by what I read about the treatment of girls and young women. I kept wondering what happened to the children conceived by the rampant and horrific number of rapes. It’s been 25 years since that war “officially” began and an article highlighting the recovery of rape survivors was released earlier this year. You can see by the comments that blame, hatred, and denial continue to this day and I’m certainly not here to take sides. The bottom line for me is that rape is used as a weapon.
After a night of binging on movies about this subject, I dreamt this song that accompanied what felt like an entire CSI episode. A little boy who had watched his neighbors, and ultimately his own family, disappear – the boys and men murdered; the women and girls hauled into a truck and taken away – the boy set upon an urgent mission to save all the little girls in his village from being raped. One Jane Doe after another was discovered in the snow, carefully arranged in a white dress with her hands folded over her heart. At the end of my dream, he is discovered hiding in the woods near one of the little girls. His big brown eyes exuded so much sadness and fear. A female detective reached down, took his tiny hand and led him away.
I don’t have a solution to ending war or rape. As a songwriter, I feel like I can at least bring attention to issues and hope that someone might be inspired to take action. And here in the U.S. as we near the end of 2017, white men like Donald Trump and Scott Lloyd are still denying women their basic rights as the battle for Jane Poe to receive an abortion continues.
Lyrics to Snow
It’s hard to say from where she might have wandered. It’s hard to identify just how long she’s been waiting here all alone. In the cold and soft virgin snow wrapped around her body like a blanket; a blanket of white.
Her file goes on a pile of files with the same name. And everybody wondered just what happened to Jane on the long and dark journey home. How could she have stumbled so far from the road?
And he watches all from just beyond the line of sight; drenched in the conviction that what he does is justified. All the rage and the violence, the raping, the war, that wake him up in the middle of the night. Lost his daddy and his brothers, took his mama and his sisters right before his angelic eyes. Oh, his eyes have seen so many things that could never be made right.
Mercy, mercy, mercy on the Janes. It was mercy, mercy, mercy on the Janes. Saving all the Janes. And she had dreams that nobody knows. Buried in the cold, pure white virgin snow.