Love, loss and the afterlife: Chasing the muse through song.

Hi Pilgrim... I've just had a moment of courage due to a little exchange in the Pilgrims On Deck  Facebook community, in which I shared my 'original' creative love, which was music. In my early 20's, I was chasing the muse in songwriting. Pouring my heart into lyrics and song. This was the first piece of music I wrote.

Before it had lyrics, I called it 'missing'. All I had was a vision of a woman, dressed in a flowing gown of silk.. dancing in a spotlight that seemed to be on a stage in thin air. I knew somehow it was about loss and the afterlife.

As a teenager, I had been strangely impacted by the disappearance of an American girl while she was studying here in Ireland. Here name was Annie McCarrick.

I don't know why the story of her disappearance had such an effect on me. Maybe it was because she looked very like an American friend of mine. I watched a documentary some years after her last known sighting, maybe 10, in which her father told the story of his pain following her disappearance and it was so crushing to hear what he was going through.

And then these lyrics just came. They wrote themselves, as if they were intended as a message for him, from his daughter. What she might want to say to ease his suffering.

I've never told anyone the truth of these lyrics. I thought it might come across as morbid, because in a way it is. I changed the lyrics from 'I'm safe and I'm happy here', to 'you're safe and you're happy here' to disguise that. I'd love to re-record it to reflect the original meaning. But there's also an element of hope in this song. That the afterlife is a place of love and peace and for our guardians to watch over us.

The lyrics probably have less to do with Annie and her father and more to do with me, trying to comfort myself as a traumatised bystander to it all.

Anyway... here it is. I recorded it as part of a college project in 2003. It was chosen as track 3 on a showcase album for Ballyfermot rock school. I met Shay Healy and Finbar Furey who both told me I had promise as a songwriter. But I didn't believe them. I thought they were just being polite. I was 27.

Always, Amanda.