Music Monday: Sting Sails “The Last Ship” Through Writer’s Block


It’s Monday and I have decided to be productive rather than mumbling about how the most-hateful day always comes back and beats me up.

Now I want to fulfill the promise I wrote on my new Moleskine notebook (I tried not to mention it all the time, but being able to buy the notebook gave me joy and sadness, because i have dreamed about it since last year, and yeah, the price makes me stiff).

My promise is I want to write daily on this blog with different themes or categories. And I have come up with some themes, such as writing about Music on Monday, Movies on Tuesday, Books-Wednesday, and so on.

So to jazz up the first day of this week, I will write about music. Besides having a new dream to write a novel that goes along with songs and pictures created by me, I also believe that music helps me to escape from reality (I hope this doesn’t indicate that I’m not satisfied with my life, because this year God has given me many blessings, He opens a window when a door is closed).

And one of the wonderful windows is I have been chosen as a member of a writing academy, initiated by my favorite writer and inspiration, Ahmad Fuadi. It’s great to have him as the mentor for my writing, and meeting other members from various backgrounds with similar interest is incredible!

Return to writing about music, I have tried something new recently: compose songs. When I take a shower, instead of singing other musician’s songs I tried to catch some inspirations and just sing them out. I have three drafts now and it feels so good having another silly dreams like receiving a Grammy Award for ‘Song of The Year’.

Usually grammy-winning artists don’t catch my attention much, unless they landed on the top 40-something charts, my guidance for music. And the one that I’m about to talk is an Englishman who earned 16 Grammy Awards and sold more than 100 million albums. However, I only know one of his songs, “Englishman in New York”, and I hadn’t seen his face until few days ago.

Thanks to that features Sting on its TED Talk, I get to watch him and he just amazed me. As a musician, he started his speech with a beautiful song, The Last Ship. The second he played his guitar and opened his mouth to sing, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Can’t describe more!

In the talk, he told the audience how he got the inspiration for the song, and his latest album. It started from writer’s block, he said. And the place he grew up in, “the shadow of a shipyard in a little town on the northeast coast of England.”

I really enjoyed his lyrical speech, especially when he talked about handling writer’s block:

“Well they say, write what you know. If you can’t write about yourself anymore, then who do you write about? So it’s ironic that the landscape I’d worked so hard to escape from, and the community that I’d more or less abandoned and exiled myself from should be the very landscape, the very community I would have to return to to find my missing muse.

And as soon as I did that, as soon as I decided to honor the community I came from and tell their story, that the songs started to come thick and fast. I’ve described it as a kind of projectile vomiting, a torrent of ideas, of characters, of voices, of verses, couplets, entire songs almost formed whole, materialized in front of me as if they’d been bottled up inside me for many, many years. One of the first things I wrote was just a list of names of people I’d known, and they become characters in a kind of three-dimensional drama, where they explain who they are, what they do, their hopes and their fears for the future.”

What a genius and gifted man! The way he present his story is just… WOW. Really INSPIRING.

After watching his talk, I suddenly recalled my old memories in the beautiful island where I was born and raised. A place that I once hated for limited access to outside world and tried to escape from and never looked back. But now, I realize that there are so many things I can write from my hometown, and for that, I’m really grateful.

Sting’s latest solo album, “The Last Ship” is on my top playlist now and I can hear it over and over.

“Oh I cannot be missing, the lads’ll expect me,
Why else would the good Lord himself resurrect me?
For nothing will stop me, I have to prevail,
Through the teeth of this tempest, in the mouth of a gale,
May the angels protect me if all else should fail,
When the last ship sails….”


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