Losin’ It

I like the band Rush and near the top of my list of favorite songs is Losin’ It from their 1982 album Signals. The whole song is rather depressing but this verse sticks out in particular:

The writer stares with glassy eyes,
Defies the empty page.
His beard is white, his face is lined
And streaked with tears of rage.

Thirty years ago, how the words would flow
With passion and precision.
But now his mind is dark and dulled
By sickness and indecision

And he stares out the kitchen door
Where the sun will rise no more…

I feel a bit like that myself from time to time. Of course, my mind may not be all “dark and dulled” just yet, but I can sure identify with the concept of blanking out. Or recalling those times when the words flowed with passion and precision.

Granted, much of what I write is goofy, but it’s very precise goofiness. With passion.

Still, I can’t help wonder at what point I’ll cross from “losin’ it” to “lost it”. Two years? Twenty years? Or two hundred years, when my brain gets tired of walking around in that robotic jar? The only real question I have is this: if and when that time comes, will I at least have the synopsis to my next book finished? I swear, it’s taking absolutely forever. And I haven’t even gotten to my glassy-eyed phase yet.

The good news is, when I do, y’all be the first ta know.

Oh, if you haven’t heard this song, track it down. It’s worth it. The lyrics may not be the most uplifting, but the song is really intense, it’s in 5/4 time, and has a killer electric violin solo by Ben Mink.

Er, I mean, it has a killer electric violin solo by me. Yeah, that’s the ticket. That’s me playing the violin with Rush back in 1982. And … uh … Heather Locklear. Yeah, that’s the ticket. She was there too, right by my side. Me and Geddy Lee and Heather Locklear. And … uh … you know, before we even finished the third take, they brought me my Grammy. Yeah, that’s exactly what happened.

6 Responses to “Losin’ It”

Jay said
April 22, 2009 at 12:46 am

Do you think, when you’re losing it, if there is any way back? Can mental acuity be regained, can that passion and precision be worked on even if it doesn’t come naturally any more? Either way, judging by your precise goofiness, I’d say you are a long, long way from having lost it and don’t buy that you’re even losing it.

Jenn@slim-shoppin said
April 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I agree with Jay, I think you’re not even close to losing it!

That’s the great thing about you Charlie, is you always have a lot to say, and I love reading about it, whatever it is!

Ruth said
April 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm


Thought provoking post.

I think “losing it” is somehow connected to Thoreau’s “most men lead lives of quiet desperation” deal.

Just my theory. But if you make room for passion, whatever it might be (it often changes throughout our lives) and wherever it might lead you, I’m sure you’ll be jus’ fine.

Beth said
April 23, 2009 at 5:24 am

Great post!

BTW, I love Rush. Went to see them when I was 9 months pregnant. It would figure that son would rebel against my music taste and opt for classical.

Rottrix said
May 2, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Charlie et al.:
I’ve most enjoyed the references to your writing and the ensuing discourse about losing it and the lyrics from “Losin’ it”.
First, let me jump on the wagon to affirm that you sound far from the “lost it” stage. Your reference to forming a synopsis of an upcoming book prompts me to remind you (& myself as a writer “in process” of finishing a book), that enjoying the journey is as important as the destination.
I’ll need to check out the possible Thoreau “… quiet desperation…” connection, as I’ve been trying to understand the meaning of the lyrics near the end of the song: “… some are born to rule the world to live their fantasies… most of us just dream about the things we’d like to be
Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it…
For you the blind who once could see, the Bell tolls for thee…”.
As a 45-year-old father of three who had a spinal cord injury at 18 years old, these lyrics are a hard mental pill to swallow, taken at face value. After I post this, I will look into the Thoreau connection, but would appreciate any insights you all might have. If SRO-Anthem gives me the OK, I’m considering including some of these & other Rush lyrics into my book project. However, before doing so, I’m trying to get a better handle on the meaning/interpretation & origin of the ““Losin’ it” lyrics. Thoughts, anyone??
Buehler? Buehler? Any input would be appreciated!

    Charlie said
    May 3, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Hmmm… I guess for me there’s no real mystery to the lyrics. I always thought they were straightforward. You have a dancer who can no longer dance the way she used to and the writer who can no longer write. And while it’s sad that most people just go through their lives dreaming, it’s worse for people who actually achieved their dreams and then lost it. For you, the blind who once could see, the bell tolls for thee.