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  • Writer's pictureTom Sykes

April 2023 Newsletter

“The dark mystery of starlight...”

April 2023 Newsletter

As old as the stars

Today is my birthday, my 52nd birthday to be precise.

I say this not to elicit a chorus of Happy Birthday from you, but because age and aging feel important to me in relation to my music-making, and this anniversary of mine could be an opportunity to express a little on the subject. A foolish subject for a newsletter? Well, it's my birthday.

Part of the reason I started this monthly newsletter, back when I was 51, was so that anyone who resonated with my music could, if they wished, look at some of my written words and find out a bit more about me. Perhaps knowing something of where I am coming from could deepen a listener's connection with my music. Way back when, I trained and practiced as a therapist, a line of work all about depth of connection, and while I've diverged from that pursuit, I still value connecting at depth where possible.

Ageing usually gets a bad rap, if it gets any rap at all in this youth-oriented culture, so I'd like to say a few positive words about it, including how I'm glad to be coming to this music-making chapter relatively late in my life.

I often feel excited about my second half of life. My debut release, Safe On Your Way, was inspired by Richard Rohr's book, Falling Upward, which is about this subject of the second half of life. The age that I am, I appreciate new and meaningful challenges which weren't in focus when I was younger. And I appreciate the greater awareness, perspective and inner resources that I now bring to bear on the challenges. Although I may feel wobbly and uncertain at times, I know that in fact I've got a good deal more stability in life now than I once had.

When I turned 50, I liked the idea of effectively starting again.

If I look after myself, which is my intention, then I hope to have many decades ahead of me being actively creative. Why not aim for another five decades, I thought when turning 50. That would be neat. Another half-century life instalment, but this time not starting out with the un-resourced vulnerability of infancy.

With 5 decades of life experience to bring to the table, I've got something different to offer which I didn't have, say 30 years ago, when I was more the sort of age you might expect someone to dedicate themselves to music. So maybe now is precisely the right time for me to be doing this. Clearly there is no one-size-fits-all timetable for life. I like the idea of encouraging folk at my stage of life, or at any stage, to push the boat out and have a go at whatever line of creative expression floats your boat. Being creatively active is good for health and vitality - I know that in myself, and I see it in others. It can take a bit of huffing and puffing to push the boat out if it's stuck on the sand, but who knows what adventures await once you're afloat.

By The Light Of The Stars by Dialogic

By the Light of the Stars

My next Dialogic release, By the Light of the Stars, comes out on 21st April. The song carries such a message of encouragement - the sort of encouragement I was seeking myself when writing it.

The opening line is, 'Daylight fades with the sun's warm gaze'. The fading of light and warmth will represent different things for different people, but here let's say here it's about the inevitable fading of youth. Instead of locking the door and calling it a day, why not step outside under the night sky, and see what inspiration may come from the stars. The starlight has travelled through space for many thousands of years, from the star to your retina. What does that mysterious light tell you as it finally reaches the end of its journey?

Are we not connected to the stars by their light? Are we not made of the same stuff? It's back to deep connection, in deep time. In star-time, I as I write this and as you as you read this, whatever our respective ages - we've only got the blink of an eye left before we return to stardust. Let's enjoy that magical blink!


Songwriter night, Sat 22nd April 2023

Here's a suggestion you might enjoy... I'm organising a songwriter night at Repas 7 By Night in Berwick, on Saturday 22nd April, starting 7pm. It's to mark the 1-year anniversary in Berwick of the men's mental health charity which I attend, Andy's Man Club - a valuable resource in our community, free to any man over the age of 18, where men come together every Monday night to talk openly about the stuff of life, without judgement.

7 local songwriters, including me, all of us men, and all involved with either Andy's Man Club or another men's group, The Northumbria Men's Group, will sing our hearts out in support of AMC.

Hope to see you there.

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