WHO NEEDS TO REACH BEYOND THE STARS
Who needs to reach beyond the stars for inspiration?
Who needs to look beyond this earth to find perfection?
Who needs more than human life to learn what’s right and wrong?
Who needs to imagine a god above in order to sing life’s splendid song?
Who needs a place beyond the clouds to caste their visions?
Who needs some force beyond nature to give them reasons?
Who needs more than this old world to find the thrill of living?
Who needs to imagine a god above in order to know the joy of giving?
Why not just embrace reality?
Why not live with an explorer mentality?
Create purpose with your favorite people.
Create meaning without any steeples.
Who needs a master in the sky to shout directions?
Who needs illusions about death upon reflection?
Who needs more than this good earth to make us truly whole?
Who needs to imagine a god above or to imagine aneternal soul?
Our musical journey has been brief but with a distant beginning. My best friend and fellow-professor at California State University at Long Beach, Marion Steele, suggested to me in the spring of 1969, that he and I create our own music to play for the opening fall, 1969 sessions of the “experimental” course we had created, “Social Myths in Contemporary America.” So, in the “ignorance is bliss” spirit, we bought an electric guitar for him and a small electric organ for me. Playing what we called “Primitive Lizard Rock,” Marion and I somehow pulled off our opening day act to a generous and overwhelming response from the surprised students. We performed at two concerts in the next few months, each with over a thousand people in attendance. During that period, Shirley and I came together, and she joined Marion and me and our drummer on-stage during our final concert. (see scrapbook)
But the unique and much-publicized college course, though wildly successful with the students, was far too experimental for the college administrators. Marion and I were fired amidst huge publicity, massive protests, police mobilizations and arrests. Before long music gave way to survival. And thus began a roughly forty year musical hiatus. But Shirley and I continued our own personal journey, marrying in 1977, and giving birth to a son, Ian, in 1984.
By the time I had retired from college teaching for good (2009), I’d begun writing a book about the unforgettable events of that 1969 “Social Myths” class. After reconnecting with Marion, who died of cancer in 2014, I began using an acoustic guitar to write songs from poems in the book by Marion and me. The poetry of Marion Steele has provided the lyrics for four of the tunes on our “ONE LIFE” album.
After Shirley retired from mental health administration in 2015, she and I decided to create a secular humanist themed album with our own mix of folk and retro-rock music. The “ONE LIFE” album is now available, and we have created the group name, SECULARUS, which suggests what we stand for.
The completion of “ONE LIFE” is due, above all, to the tireless efforts of my son, Damon, who, while also working full time, has played multiple instruments on each song and carried out all of the mixing, mastering and production work necessary to bring this project to fruition.
We hope the songs in “ONE LIFE” will in some way enrich your own one life.
Don Robertson, 2016
Don has never really considered himself a poet, though he has written some poems over the years. In recent years, however, he has written more poems, not as an end in itself, but as a first step in writing songs. All of his songs begin with lyrics, his own or Marion’s or Ron’s. In the last year, Don has been focused primarily to the “one life” theme, and several of these tunes appear on the “ONE LIFE” album
Marion began writing poems when he and Don were professors of sociology together in the late 1960s. Marion left sociology teaching behind, but he continued to be a keen observer of human life until his death in 2014. Marion’s many insights on human existence and his commitment to a secularist worldview are reflected in well over a hundred poems he left behind, many of which have been used by Don to create songs. Four of those songs are included in the “ONE LIFE” album.
Beginning life in Los Angeles, California area, he moved, with his life partner and best friend, to the Southern Oregon coast nearly forty years ago, where they have shared in creating a family and a rural lifestyle. He reports a lifelong appreciation for the power of words and that the muse occasionally occasionally channels rhyming verse through him for reasons unknown. Professing no clue as to the phenomenon of consciousness he none the less enjoying the ride.
About the Music
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