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Songs | Spring 2016

A Small Star

Joyce J. Rouse considers music her original language and started making up little songs before she could speak. “My mother sang as she cooked and cleaned and gardened and hiked in the woods, all the songs of her youth. So I learned words to them all early on. Later church music, 4-H, camp and wonderful public school music teachers nurtured more genres, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Malvina Reynolds, and more.

“When I wrote ‘A Small Star,’ I had in mind someone I was mentoring and encouraging through a rough patch of life. I could not say the words, but they spoke out of the tips of my fingers as a song on the piano. The image was inspired by words from a sermon in church a few days earlier. The minister said there was an old Finnish proverb that claimed ‘even a small star shines in the darkness,’ reminding us of perspective and relativity. It was a few years later, as I was singing the song in the studio, that I realized I had been writing those words for a part of myself that felt ineffective, small, and not very sparkly at that point in my life. Truly, when we don’t feel very shiny, we can still shine for others in ways we cannot know. So, shine on!”

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