A Message to a Distant Shore

I was just watching a news story about a girl whose father was Chief Steward on Malaysian Flight 370, the plane that has disappeared over the Indian Ocean. Not knowing whether her father is alive or dead, not know how to reach him but needing to connect, needing to believe he can hear her, she turned to Twitter.

She lets her father know he’s missing his favorite football game, the one they always watch together. She tweets raw feelings: “Daddy, come home. I miss you.”  She sends the tweets out into the vague, everywhere-ness of the Internet. Isn’t it just possible that somewhere, she thinks, somehow, in this vast, airy endless space, he might hear her?

We often make fun of Twitter as 144 characters of trivia. But a few words in the hands of strong emotion can be so much more. 

Songs can be like that. There are people who are gone, people we can’t reach for many reasons. And our ties to them are strong, sometimes unbreakable. When I write and sing a song from that place, I feel it connect. There’s a sense that it is heard and I feel better. I suppose it’s a little like praying. Or throwing a message in a bottle into the sea believing it will reach some unknown, hoped-for shore.

There are some songs that want to remain private, just between you and the person you wrote it for. Others want to get out there and go searching for ears to hear them.

Posting a song on the Internet, on YouTube or Soundcloud, sends a song out into the world on its own journey where it can speak to others. That’s certainly true. Can it reach beyond that? I have no idea. But sometimes it’s all you can do and it can be enough to see you through.


Robin Frederick  All rights reserved. Reprints by permission.

Author: Robin Frederick

Robin Frederick is the author of Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting and Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV. She has written and produced more than 500 songs for television, records, theater, and audio products. She is a former Director of A&R for Rhino Records and Executive Producer of 60 albums. Visit Robin's websites for more songwriting tips and inspiration: www.RobinFrederick.com and www.MySongCoach.com.

1 thought on “A Message to a Distant Shore”

  1. Robin,

    a very beautiful work you have written here. It can raise questions of interest for many but I am not one to sit around the table and discuss with others what disappointment would be like. I rather run from it like the plague.

    Just what you wrote about what she said is very moving and something like this could make for a very beautiful lyric.

    I believe to those such a message is sent can hear what is being said to them with the presence of the person who sent it. But, maybe we may have to let go of our strict view of time to understand that fully.

    I believe prayer does heal but sometimes not without breaking the unbreakable and redefining what all this means to us; our love or our emotional ties to the ones absent from our soul.


    Alan Warrick

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