Turning to Stone

Words and music Creative Commons License 1998 by Jim Bearden

I first heard about scleroderma (literally: “hard skin”), a disease which causes hardening of the skin and internal organs, in a TV movie entitled “For Hope“, a story of the life and death (from scleroderma) of the sister of the writer and director of the movie, Bob Saget. The person in the movie who made the greatest impression on me, however, was Sharon Monsky, who actually has scleroderma, playing herself. I later found, and read, a great deal more about Ms. Monsky, who founded the Scleroderma Research Foundation, including an interview in McCall’s where she described her thoughts when they finally diagnosed her symptoms as scleroderma, and explained the disease to her: “My body was turning to stone.” This struck me as an all-too-descriptive metaphor for what seems to be happening to our whole country in the last 15 to 20 years, and this song is what came from that thought. And by the way, whatever your opinion of the song, please check out the Scleroderma Research Foundation Web site, and send them a contribution: it’s a good cause that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.
Two later additions: I was very saddened when I heard that Sharon Monsky had lost her long fight with scleroderma, and had died on May 11, 2002 — 18 years after the doctors had given her just 3 more years to live. She has truly left a legacy that should inspire us all. And, on an even sadder note, the problem of overspending on the military, to the detriment of the real needs of the people of this country and the world, has only gotten worse in the time since I wrote this song.

Verse 1:
She was once a champion skater, a ball of fire out on the ice.
And in her work, and her marriage, she was blessed, she realized.
But then the energy she’d skated on was nowhere to be found;
And finally, they said, “Three more years, and you won’t be around.”

Her body was turning to stone –
Losing touch with everything that she had ever known.
And now it seems that something like this is happening to everyone–
Is everybody turning to stone?

Verse 2:
But then she had the baby they said she just couldn’t bear;
Then she started a foundation for all the ones like her out there.
It still hurts to button buttons, to open doors, but then again,
She says, “I’ve got to keep on going – I haven’t got time for the pain.”


Now the money that might find a cure is putting bombers in the air —
Have our hearts become so hardened we’ve forgotten how to care?


Is everybody … turning to stone?

Dedicated to the memory of Sharon Monsky, founder of the Scleroderma Research Foundation, who, by the courage she showed in the face of a terrible disease, showed us all how much of a difference one dedicated person can make.

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