I have always been a huge Rich Mullins fan. Of course he died in a car crash in 1997, and it’s hard for me to comprehend how 19 years have past since his passing. I guess it was St. Patrick’s Day that got me thinking of him again. It’s not hard when one of my favorite songs of all time is called “The Color Green” and the video was shot in Ireland.
But it is really Rich’s writing that makes me the most envious. He had the unique ability to turn a phrase of remarkable clarity and literary value. Ponder this:
“And down the brown brick spine of some dirty blind alley
All those drain pipes are drippin’ out the last Sons Of Thunder
While off in the distance the smoke stacks
Were belching back this city’s best answer
And the countryside was pocked
With all of those mail pouch posters
Thrown up on the rotting sideboards of
These rundown stables like the one that Christ was born in
When the old world started dying
And the new world started coming on
And I’ll sing His song, and I’ll sing His song
In the land of my sojourn”
From his remarkable song “The Land of My Sojourn.” I nearly weep every time I think of these lyrics because I always want to say, “Why couldn’t I think of that?” or more accurately “I could never have thought of that.”
I marvel at the abilities of certain writers. They are inspirational, and while I think I’ll never have as much to say as they did, they make me strive to become the best writer I can be.
So here I am, several years into this writing gig of mine. Not really sure where it’s headed, but I know that I am happier and have a richer life because of it. It’s inspired people like Mullins who push me to become a better writer. And while I may never elicit a phrase so succinctly and meaningful as Mullins, I hope to be able to convey truth about the human condition in such a way that speaks to others as much as Mullins’ lyrics have spoken to me.
Here’s to the dark Irish poets who continue to boldly speak the truth!