As I have said before, inspiration can come from anywhere when it comes to writing a song. In the supermarket, in the middle of the night, in the shower…you just never know where it’s going to show up.
I remember sitting in a movie theatre with my wife, watching a film called Shakespeare In Love, starring Gwenneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes. It takes place in England in the sixteenth century. Gwenneth Paltrow portrays a young girl betrothed to an older man. They are trying to pawn this off on us as being disgusting and reprehensible but, as a sixty one year old man, I didn’t really see what the problem was. Obviously, this fellow had been around long enough to know what a treasure she was and could appreciate her. Seemed reasonable to me, …but I digress…
So she sneaks off to London (I guess it’s London?) and the theater, where she runs into young Wil Shakespeare and in not time at all not only becomes his muse, but enamorata and they end up doing the only dance there is all over the theatre.
Now to be perfectly frank, I’ve never been attracted to boyishly figured women. I have always thought that the rubenesque women were more alluring, so I wasn’t expecting Gwenneth to have much affect on me with her slender body, but…
When she was up on that screen and she was forty feet across, well, I tell you it was working for me. I felt…moved. And in this one particular scene, après the “dance” as it were, they are lying there gazing into each others eyes and she takes her hand and puts it on his cheek, caresses him and says, “this is our stolen season.”
Wow, I thought. What a great idea for a song. I mean, think about it. A tryst being described as a “stolen season”. I loved it. I can’t believe I never thought of that. I mean, if you are sleeping around, you’re just a slut, but… if you are having a “stolen season”, well hey, it wasn’t your fault.
It was bigger than the both of you. You were swept away by an avalanche of poetry. “It wasn’t my fault, honey, it was a stolen season--that avalanche of poetry, see?”
You have to appreciate the value of this phrase, the cleverness of it, the sheer joy of an excuse? This has got to be a song, I thought, so I took that phrase and the song practically wrote itself.
And that’s what it became on my acoustic duet CD with Peter Tork “Once Again” and fully produced on my "Traces of the Old Road" CD, and in fact, I just rerecorded and remixed that song another time because I loved it and I wanted it to do some stuff it didn’t do on the original recording.
As for the stolen season, everyone should have a “stolen season” once in a while. I sincerely wish you all a stolen season…soon. (Looks at his watch) I mean really, really soon. Meanwhile, here are the lyrics:
And in our stolen season, your feet won’t touch the ground
It’s a ferris wheel that’s spinning hearts and minds around
And the heights will make you dizzy and take your breath away
In our secret stolen season there is just today.
But when you’re lost in loving time will not stand still
Each hour seems a second, each shadow touch a thrill
And each kiss will leave us breathless as our two hearts beat as one
In this secret stolen season in the shadows of the shadows of the sun
And in our stolen season, our world within a world
It’s a simple act of love between a boy and girl
No yesterdays can find us and tomorrows can’t begin
In our secret stolen season in the space between what is and might have been
But all too soon it’s over and the world spins back in place
From our secret stolen season, from our state of grace…
And in to every day and night, some magic weaves its spell
It’s a secret stolen season and we cannot tell
If there’s a way of knowing what is lost and what is gained
From our secret stolen season, where our hearts remain…
Words and music by James Lee Stanley @2002 the real james lee Stanley music, sesac