Five Uneasy Pieces. Chapter 2… Growing Up The Hard Way


This is the second in a series on lyric writing, which has been one of my life long passions. The first piece in this series can be found at:

When you start off writing lyrics or composing music it’s easy and often times beneficial to emulate your influences.

But at a certain point, you either figure this out, or someone gives you a boot in the ass, which incentivizes you to figure it out.

In my case I was lucky. After I showed my lyrics to Gordon Lightfoot and he graciously turned me down, he also did me a huge favor.

He told me that I should sit down with his guitarist, Terry Clemons and talk to him about my lyric writing. I knew Terry as well as I knew the other guys in Gord’s band because they were always around. And they were a really solid group of guys. Extremely talented and in addition to touring with Gord, some of the best session players in the business.

So I put together a bunch of lyrics for Terry and he kept them for a couple of weeks before sitting down with me.

He and his wife Roz were there. Roz took the 20 odd lyrics I had given him and placed them on the table in four small piles. The fourth pile had one one lyric in it.

As they went through the piles with me, they pointed out that everything they saw was well written and nicely paced, and that I obviously had some talent. Then they broke my heart a bit by pointing out to me that almost everything I gave them, in their professional opinion, was derivative.

Derivative of Dylan. Derivative of Tim Hardin. Derivative of Van Morrison, and several others, all of whom, not coincidentally, were the songwriters I loved and listened to most.

Then they showed me the last one, and they said…”now this one…this is different…this feels more like you. So this should be your starting point.”

I had no idea how wrapped up I was in this whole process until somebody gave me some actual constructive criticism.

I was also lucky to have a wife that stuck with me through it all. Never underestimate the power of love.

But I found out, because shortly thereafter, I had a genuine emotional meltdown and ended up spending about 3 months in a state of complete intellectual paralysis. It wasn’t only caused by Terry and Roz’ opinions of my work. But that was more or less the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Because in my life, it was time to make some real grown up decisions about having a family, buying a house, getting back into the agency business, and basically growing up.

It was a tough three months. Maybe the toughest of my life. But the thinking I gave myself time to do…the stillness I imposed upon myself and the reflection I did, really had a huge impact going forward.

In the three months that followed the end of this period, I literally became a whole different version of myself.

We got pregnant with our son Dan, we bought a house in the east end, and I went back to work at Foster Advertising, where I met my long time partner Dan Floyd.

But what really changed the most was my personal writing. And this changed for one very simple reason…somebody told me the truth and I listened, and governed myself accordingly. It was probably the first really mature thing I had ever done, and it led me into true adulthood.

The first piece here is the lyric that Terry and Roz identified, as original me. Quite ironically it’s entitled “So Much To Do”…and frankly, four decades later, there still is.


So much to do…so little time
So many mountains I’ve yet to climb
So many echoes … but it’s an empty sound
So many people…so little common ground

So many words pass through my pen
So much starting all over again
In a world where nothing ever seems real
It’s hard to touch what you truly feel

So much to do…so little time
So many mountains I’ve yet to climb
So much to do…so much to say
I’ve got the fever and it won’t go away

So many people I’ve yet to know
So many heartaches yet to lay me low
So much confusion to suffer through
So many broken dreams before one comes true

So much to do in a single life
Too little harmony and too much strife
All we can do is fight the good fight
All we can do is hold onto each other tonight

So much to do…so little time
So many mountains I’ve yet to climb
So much to do…so much to say
I’ve got the fever and it won’t go away


In the heat of the night
Love calls my name
Like a siren’s cry
Luring me to the flame
I don’t know what’s wrong anymore
I don’t care what’s right
Love’s a dream to me now
In the heat of the night

In the heat of the night
Love and hate are as one
They can haunt like the moon
And burn like the sun
As the temperature rises
And you drift out of sight
I seek mercy from the darkness
In the heat of the night

In the heat of the night
Where no candles burn
Where no friends and lovers
Wait for your return
And the lies I tell myself
No longer make everything alright
I’ll be dreaming of lost love
In the heat of the night

In the heat of the night
Shadow memories fade
Embers turn to ashes
Just like the plans we made
And my only regret
Was never learning to love you right
It could have been such a beautiful fire
In the heat of the night



In a moment of madness
I shook my fist at the sky
Then I turned to you
And told you we were living a lie

In a moment of madness
I undid all that you and I could be
So afraid that the power of love
Was overpowering me

In a moment of madness
I look deep into my own soul
And all I see is a shadow of me
Spinning right out of control

In a moment of madness
I lost a love so real
In a lifetime of sadness
I feel the pain you feel
It’s getting harder to live
With the price I have to pay
‘Cause in a moment of madness
I let you slip away

In a moment of madness
I wake up screamin’ your name
Then I realize
Nothing can ever be the same

In a moment of madness
Just before the night takes hold
This shadow of you hovers over me
So precious yet so cold

In a moment of madness
I look deep into your eyes
And all I see is the true love for me
That you never could disguise



The story never seems to change
Like it was cast in stone
A different lover most every day
But you still live your life all alone
Your main obsession is just to be
The master of your own fate
Nothing will ever tame your heart
No love could be that great

But soon the night will come closin’ in
Like a thousand nights before
And the siren song that haunts your soul
Won’t be silent anymore
Cause life comes with no guarantees
And no honor to be preserved
God have mercy on the gypsy souls
Who get just what they deserve

So many spirits in disarray
So many reasons to give up the fight
So many lies smother you like a second skin
So many shadows crowd out the light
So many words left unspoken
So many lovers in so much pain
So many promises broken in the dust
So many rules in this game

Love is just an illusion
A trick life likes to play
You’ll be back on that runaway road
Long before the break of day
Chasin’ down your restless heart
A slave to the bell that tolls
Denyin’ yourself any chance at all
For love to make you whole

There will be another lover tonight
Another famous one night stand
Another empty escapade
In your played-out Promised Land
But life comes with no guarantees
And no honour to make you pure
God have mercy on all fallen Angels
And the sins they must endure


The deck is marked
The game never ending
Even though we know
It’s gone on too long
Kisses in the dark
Messages we’re sending
Just a matter of time
Before we’re dead and gone

Inside your white lies
You find your freedom
Behind your gold mask
You hide your tears
Nobody gets to know
What you’re feelin’
‘Cause you measure love
Like you treasure fear

And like mad dogs
Howlin’ at the moon
Darlin’ we
Grow old too soon

You move the pieces
From square to square
Your velvet glove
Rubs the ebony pawn
But nothing changes
Till the queen is dead
The game is just show
And the show must go on

Inside your dark eyes
I see no love
Behind your gold mask
You laugh at me
And on your canvas
You paint a rainbow
In the gaudy colors
Of your insanity

All Lyrics Copyright Onwords & Upwords Inc. Jim Murray


Say Hello to Ms Shelley Brown…One Of My Favorite Peeps.I am a communications professional. Through my own core skills as a strategist, writer & art director and with the help of some insanely talented associates, I work with primarily B to B clients, large and small to create hard working communications in whatever sector of the marketing universe their strategy dictates the need to travel through.

I am also a mentor, blog post editor and a pretty decent photographer.

If you have a marketing or communications challenge
you would like to discuss, (no obligation), 
there are three ways you can contact me:
Direct Line: 416 463-3475 • Email: • Skype: jimbobmur61

Link To My WP Portfolio Page:

Finally, you can download my free ebook,
Small Business Communications For The Real World:


4 thoughts on “Five Uneasy Pieces. Chapter 2… Growing Up The Hard Way

  1. There is something heartbreaking and wistful and wonderful about this story Mr. Jim Murray. I took me through a gamut of emotions. It was it’s own song. Lyrical as always in a completely non-dirivative voice…in the voice written from the soul whose journey it is based on. My friend Jim Murray

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