One day, at the end of June 2017, I sat on the edge of my bed and picked up a small purple notebook that was on the bedside table.
On each page was a sentence, beautifully handwritten, in black ink.
You’re in Hammersmith hospital
You’ve had meningitis
You have a brain injury
You were in a coma for three weeks
You can trust the doctors and nurses, they saved your life
You’re going to be okay
They were written by my sister and they were to help explain what had happened to me, why I was in hospital and, most baffling of all,
why I had no memory of my life up until that point.
Along with friends nurses and other member of my family, she helped me piece together my life (or what I think of as my past life) and one of the things I realised was, that music had played a big part.
Another day, I was sitting on the edge of the bed talking to my mum on the phone.
During the conversation she asked, “Do you remember being in America last year?”
I shook my head, “No, I wasn’t in America…was I?”
“Yes, you were. You were in California and you were in Texas.”
I found it hard to believe, but a few days later a song started to play in my mind, with ‘Santa Monica’ in the chorus.
I started to write the words down and gradually, it dawned on me that it was a song I had once written.
As I wrote, little, tiny glimpses started to appear in my mind.
The glimpses were of people and places.
I now know that those places were 3rd St. Promenade and Pacific Palisades in the city of Santa Monica.
So, my mum was right, I had been to California after all.
After almost three months in hospital I returned home and along with quite a few other songs, I found a recording of Santa Monica that I’d made on acoustic guitar.
I found the pieces of paper where my past self-had written the words to the song, and as I read them I wondered…
What had I been thinking at the time?
Some words had been crossed out and replaced with others.
“Why had I first chosen that word or that sentence? What had made me cross them out and come up with the new ones?”
I started to see pictures of the people who were represented in the song. The characters in the movie I watched as I walked along 3rd Street Promenade.
The man who sat on the bench playing guitar, with the American flag flying behind him
The lady with the painted smile on her face speaking her thoughts aloud.
What were they, and others I must have seen or heard, trying to tell us?
Why were our stories left on the shelf untold, the stories that were made of gold?
By then, I knew why I had been to Santa Monica.
It was to work with John Demartini (from the film The Secret) as a facilitator at his seminar The Breakthrough Experience.
We would have been encouraging people to find a way to overcome their fears, realised what they would love to do with their life, and live their dreams.
Is that what was going through my mind when I wrote the words to the song? Had I imagined that the people I saw every day, maybe even the city itself, were trying to pass on a message?
For a while I thought that maybe the message could also have been for me. that my story had been left on the shelf untold.
I hadn’t recorded or released the song (or any of the songs) so I needed a wakeup call that came in the shape of my brain injury.
However, when I look back now, I see. another possibility.
The people from around the world who helped raise the money to make the recording of the song and the video. The musicians who played on it, the little vocal edits that made the song what it is today, none of them would have happened if I hadn’t had a life changing injury, in fact they only happened because of the injury.
It means that rather than my illness being a wakeup call to tell my story, rather, it was another chapter to the story.
A story that was made of gold, left on the shelf untold, until now.
Listen to Santa Monica on your favourite streaming platform here and watch the video on the YouTube channel.