Friday Fun – How do you sing to your danger?

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.


When danger approaches sing to it.

Arab proverb

So much of good writing results from experiencing “danger” in our own lives. People get sick or die, families are threatened by financial insecurity, and politicians infringe on our rights. Even a personal challenge (like taking a long walk with your son) can present moments of danger.

Think about when you have experienced a profound sense of danger. Sit there and really chew on that feeling – notice that sudden race of pulse, that sweat that breaks out, that sense that you have to get up and physically move away from the memory.

And now try to sing to that danger by using that very specific experience in your writing going forward. Sing to make it real, sing to take away its power by sharing.

What words will you use to sing to danger?


Deborah headshotDeborah Lee Luskin: Breathe before words. I don’t sing to my danger – during or after. I bring myself back to my breath. This helps ground me when I’m in any highly charged situation, and it helps quiet the static when I’m at my desk, so I can hear my voice and take dictation.


lisajjacksonLisa J. Jackson:  Can’t say I’ve ever tried the singing approach, but I can relate to the feelings of fear, the adrenaline rush after the danger has passed, and the best advice I received for processing everything was “look up.”

I fell out of a raft in white water on the Colorado River several years ago and had to be rescued. I was cool and focused until I was pulled to shore – then my body shook uncontrollably – my first true experience with adrenaline. Once back in the raft and through the rest of the white water… the raft calmly being pulled along with the now-calm current, my mind replayed what happened. As I was about to get hysterical with the overwhelming emotions, I warned the 3 ladies in my raft. The tour company owner told me to “look up.” She said there’s a psychological benefit to it. I had nothing to lose, the tears were forming. I looked up … and my thoughts cleared, words became coherent in my mind, it was more akin to poetry than song as all the scary parts of the experience softened and appreciation took over.

I get scared in airplanes — looking up helps the anxiety. Attending networking events gives me the jitters — looking up helps me get my breath. Dealing with emotional situations — when I feel tears coming, I look up, take a breath and refocus.

Lee Laughlin CU 7-13

Lee Laughlin I love to sing and have been told I have a decent voice, but I sing to motivate myself.  When it comes to fear, I am a person of touch.  Placing my hands on a surface, backing myself against a wall (literally), moving close to someone I trust.  My son is very much the same way, when he gets worked up, I will place both of my hands on his shoulders and press down. It grounds him.

When there is danger, I think singing would distract me. When there is danger, I want to be focused and alert to all that is happening so I can process and react.  Now, to use that to strengthen my writing!

11 thoughts on “Friday Fun – How do you sing to your danger?

  1. I never remember panicking in the face of danger or adversity (the latter I’m used to) I almost drown three times. Have been rescued twice and the other time I managed to rescue myself but the experience didn’t affect me in anyway. I still love water and will not hesitate jumping from the top of waterfalls or bridges. Irrational fears (I have tons of those) on the other hand can paralyze me and no amount of peep talks or psycho-analyzing myself help. I battle with my irrational fears once a month and tried everything already but so far nothing helps. I learned to cope and accept it as a part of me, part of life.

  2. Years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I had a girlfriend who lived in New Orleans. I went to visit one weekend. We went to her Aunt’s house to play Pokeno. Around 10 p.m. or so, we were done, I had to leave. Girlfriend stayed. They gave me specific directions. I was in the Desire projects. Because of Katrina they no longer exist. So, I took off. I met two youths, one of which asked me for a cigarette. I held out. my arms and said, “sorry man, I don’t smoke.” He pushed my jaw back with a forty -five handgun. “Don’t move.” he said. I didn’t. He turned me around so they could get at my pockets easier. He put the gun to the back of my head. I knew if he pulled the trigger, I was dead. I remember to this day, the pressure of that barrel on the back of my head. I simply went blank. I breathed. I thought if I just keep breathing, one breath after another I’ll make it. Then I heard him say. “Start walking and don’t look back.” and they were gone. It took me an hour to get to the apartment I shared with two other teachers. It was our “bachelor get-a-way.” That hour I remember being scared but I didn’t sing. 🙂 I kept focused and whenever I saw someone I moved as if I had a definite purpose, when in fact I was near lost. I made it back. The next morning I heard on the radio that a young black man had been shot and killed outside a bar near the Desire Project.

    • A Horrific experience, I can not imagine or comprehend the fear you experienced that night. I live in England where thank goodness gun crime is rare though on the increase. If they had told me to sing I maybe would have been too scared to stop. I hope you found a way to have peace after… though I don’t know how. 😯😕

      • What got me thought that evening was probably my youth. I was 25 or 26 and astoundingly naive. Now at 68, I wonder as you do…how did I get beyond that? I do remember though as clear as day, that when that young man said, “start walking…” my whole being said “yes! yes I will do that.” And I did.

  3. I worked many years, and still do occasional gigs as a singer. I have watched colleagues fall off the stage and into the pit, accidentally hit a tenor I was dancing with in the face with a too high swinging metal hoop skirt, have just been missed with a counterweight, worked with 102 fever, been stopped by a policeman for driving too fast while dressed as a nun- actually I was singing mother Mary, and for warming up in the car- dangerous since you can’t hear police or ambulances. There is a a great Bach quote all singers use in time of trouble- rough translation: flip out world and spring, I stand here and sing- in absolutely secure calmness.

  4. When faced with fear or tragedy, I know I close my mouth tight. When it is safe and passed when doctors or police etc… take their role; that is when I go to pieces. But I couldn’t sing I remember struggling to breathe between sobs of shock and relief.

  5. Pingback: Friday Fun – How do you sing to your danger? | Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning"

  6. I come from a line of silent birthers, we don’t yell and make a fuss, you internalise the energy, strengthen your breath, breathe deeper and oxygenate the cells, but when it comes to the birth cry.. watch out!! 😉

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