I Find the Strength

This turned into an accidental love song. Mary and I spontaneously decided to go out for Valentines Day and had a lovely evening. She’d had a long week of business travel, so after she headed to bed, I headed to the studio, getting a very late start. Only about two hours for songwriting, and this after dinner and drinks.

I was headed into instrumental territory again, given the short time frame, my general sleepiness, and total lack of ideas. All I had initially was the guitar and bass riff in the verse, and I was grooving along with that looking for drum loops, when the chord structure for the chorus popped into my head. While grooving along with the chorus riff, a melody appeared that I hummed over and over, and then “It doesn’t matter when you’re with me” replaced the humming.

  1. I Find the Strength Ray Toler 2:45

Huh. Lyrics. And… love song lyrics! Who would have thought? I really don’t write love songs, and the lyrics to last year’s non-love-song-love-song explore the reasons for that.  But sometimes things just show up and you go with it. Most importantly, if anyone deserves a love song, it’s Mary, and it’s always been a point of sadness for me that I just don’t normally write happy love songs.

I worked out the rest of the chorus, trying desperately to avoid the phrase “my dear” to rhyme with “near” and “here” because… blech. Not that it’s always bad, but just… no. I’m actually very happy with both the musical and lyrical finish to the chorus – I think it’s a lot stronger than a closing rhyme.

On to the verses. Clearly “it doesn’t matter” indicates that the verses are talking about something negative, so that’s where I went. Boy did things turn dark quickly. My first drafts got deleted because, frankly, I thought people would think I was suicidal.

I looked over my notes and thematic ideas that I’ve been jotting down over the course of the month and found the definition for solipsism. One of my ideas had been exploring that concept, and that still might show up later in the month. We’re only halfway through, after all.

So the verses ended up being vaguely philosophical, and still maybe a little overly gloomy, but with only two hours from start to finish, there’s not a lot of time for perfectionism. I did really like the “reach a summit” line, but in general the meter and rhythm is kind of clunky, and there’s no telling where that melody came from.

Actually, I can tell you where the melody came from. Again, because of having almost no time, I sang the entire song in one take, and just kind of made up the verse melodies as I went. Definitely something that I’d go back to and fix in the future, possibly along with some wordsmithing.

Last touch was to add the piano into the mix. Both the guitar and piano have these lovely, soft textures that play off each other nicely, though I did have to bump up the high end on the guitar to get it to cut through a bit more.

This one’s definitely got some potential for future improvement. I like the sentiment, the chorus is catchy, it’s got that lounge/chill/jazzy vibe going on, and would benefit from some extra touches like background vocals, a solo sound, and so on.

So a love song. On Valentines Day. Miracles never cease.


Nothing can convince me that anything is real
Anything I see or hear, anything I feel

Nothing can convince me that this matters at all
Every time I reach a summit, I’m only there to fall

But it doesn’t matter when you’re with me
It doesn’t matter when you’re near
I find the strength to keep on going
I find the strength when you are here

No it doesn’t matter when you’re with me
It doesn’t matter when you’re near
I find the strength to keep on going
I find the strength in you

Nothing can convince me that the struggle ever ends
‘Cause every time I make some headway, I lose the ground again

Copyright © 2019 Ray E. Toler, Jr. All rights reserved.


  • Guitar: Yamaha FS1R
  • Bass: E-mu Xtreme Lead 1
  • Piano: Integra-7
  • Drums: Stylus RMX
  • Vocal effects: Soundtoys Microshift, Nectar 3, Valhalla Plate

Next up: Deferential Drift

2 thoughts on “I Find the Strength”

    • Thanks for listening, Pam! I was pleased with how the rhythm section turned out. It has that early 80s Quincy Jones / Grover Washington vibe to it to me.


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