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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Lulliby

A few years ago, a patient came into my office carrying a guitar. He told me that I had saved his life by diagnosing a brain aneurysm, and he knew that I was a musician, and he had this old guitar sitting around his house for the past 20 years, and no one played it, and, well, here it is.

I looked at him and thanked him and told him there was no way I could accept this kind of gift from him. He was very insistant. I opened the case and plucked a few chords. It was a beautiful Alvarez guitar. He said it was a crime for such a beautiful instrument to go unplayed. I told him I would be happy to borrow it for a while.

He seemed very pleased at that. Then he told me I could give it back once I had used it to compose a lulliby. I put the guitar back in the case. In all my years as a musician, I don't recall being commissioned to write a specific type of song before. But he was very serious about this. This guitar, he told me, was meant to play a lulliby.

For several weeks I played the guitar. Very little came to me. Then one night it just popped into my head. I went down into the basement and recorded the song. I'm not much for lyrics, so I used some "placeholder" words. I've never replaced them. If you're having trouble sleeping, take a listen to this. There's also a nice acoustic bass in there.

I returned the guitar to the patient the next day, along with a CD. I don't know if he liked the song. We've never spoken about it in the years since then.

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