-- Life After Thirty | Death, Change and Time: Bruce Cockburn --
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31 May 2019 - Image turned thirty years old this April. As we reflect on whatís ahead, we asked fifteen visual artists and two singer-songwriters to tell us what they learned and how they changed after turning thirty. Click here for the full collection.

I donít miss my thirties. Maybe the energy. I had a little more energy then, and it was a little easier to come by. But I prefer my understanding of the world now.

Creative energy becomes more tenuous as time goes onónot because Iíve run out of ideas, but Iíve run out of time to have the ideas, and time to develop them when I do have them. In my thirties, I never felt any pressure to get anything done except my own pressure. Iíd start feeling a kind biological urge to create. It builds up in your system and eventually reaches a point where you have to deal with it. It would come with a sense of excitement, like Iím a bloodhound on the trail. When I get the idea, I want to chase it down. Itís the thrill of the hunt.

As Iíve gotten older, the pace of that buildup has slowed some. But what Iíve lost in energy Iíve gained in perspective.

I could never have written a song like ďTo Fit in My HeartĒ in my thirties because I didnít have the capacity to feel what that song is trying to point toówhen the hugeness of everything and the lovingness of it just overwhelms you and falls on you like rain. There was a kind of availability I had to learn in order to create a song like that. A capacity for a kind of ecstatic contact.

The potential for the contact is always there, even in pain. You have to be open to it, and itís easy to ignore. It is the still, small voice. But if you happen to stumble on it when you are feeling receptive, it doesnít feel small at all. But when youíre not, itís hard to hear that voice. But itís there all the time. All you have to do is say yes.

~ from Image Journal Issue 100.

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This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.