Saturday, May 29, 2010

didn't write

Yes, it's true...I slacked. I only had an hour's worth of work yesterday and didn't find time to write. That's pitiful! I had lots of errands to run, important stuff...not like I was sitting around watching TV. Plus I practiced for my upcoming show next week. As a matter of fact, on that show I'm performing only original songs, some of which no one has ever heard before! I'm a little nervous, because one of the songs hasn't not been critiqued by my workshop group, and it's a slow, sad song, which I don't usually do at this particular performance (which is at my church). But I'm taking a risk - didn't I say risk was involved in success! So I'm going for it...let's face it, you can't please everyone. And thank God - if everyone liked exactly the same thing, life would be a pretty boring place. There is an outlet for everyone, I'm convinced of that. I only have 6 days before the show and haven't confirmed even one rehearsal yet, so it's going to be a last minute deal. But I trust in the piano player, so once again, taking a risk...
And yes, I believe there's an outlet for everyone's talent - I don't think we are put on this planet to suffer or struggle or be unfulfilled. I have to believe that or I'm sunk. I have to trust in the abundance of life and the growth and expansion of the universe, which includes my own creative outlet. Somewhere, somehow, I will find my place. There's a Jude Cole song in which he says he keeps looking for his "place in line". I like that - everybody wants to feel that they belong, and have something worthy to contribute to life. And to make a mark on the universe, to leave one's unique stamp to be enjoyed or remembered for eternity, now that's big! I'd love to have that, but for now I'd be happy with earning some money from songwriting! I'll keep plugging away...

Friday, May 28, 2010

trying to get it together

I am feeling so stuck and frustrated - yes, I'm writing. But just feel kind of "what's the use" lately. I know writing usually brings me joy, but I also want to have an outlet for my music. A friend of mine, who is a painter and graphic artist, once told me that she thought it was egotistical for me to want my music heard by the masses. She thought having talent alone was enough and that I should be satisfied with just being creative and not need my music to be heard. I think that's ridiculous! God did not give us talent to paint or sing or write or whatever to have it stashed away in some closet. My friend had lots of paintings but had never had a show of her work. What good is a painting in a closet? We are all here to express in some unique way. And I do believe it needs to be reciprocated. If doctors went to medical school and got their degrees but never went out to heal people, what good would that be? Isn't that the same thing? Isn't it OK to say "I'm good at this" and want to use that talent, whatever it is, to change the world in some degree? Whether it's a song, or a cure for cancer, or a joke, or a way of doing business more efficiently, aren't we all here to progress life inch by inch? And songs have great power to heal and bring joy and insight and pure pleasure -songs have great weight, in my opinion, in the grand scheme of things. Why get out of bed every morning if I'm just going to tuck away who I am and my self-expression in some closet somewhere. Prisoners and bad children are locked in closets! (hehee...just a little joke!)
I know I am meant to express, to write, to create, to sing, to show my inner thoughts to the world through words and music, and I'm OK with that. I'm not afraid of expressing myself and being vulnerable to criticism or whatever else. It's about risk-taking. Are you willing to take a risk and expose your soul? I will keep looking for the outlet for my art - I know I have an audience somewhere. God did not put me on this earth to struggle but to thrive! And thrive I will...God give me strength today and move me in the right direction so that I may use Your gifts to benefit myself and others. Thank You...

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Yesterday was a good writing day - wrote lyrics to a song I worked on during the flood. It was difficult because it is personal and emotional. Hard to define and describe the feelings without revealing too much information. I don't want to lay it all out on the line on this one and name names, so to speak, I just want to talk about the emotional aspect of it. So there's no "furniture" as they say here in Nashville, just pure emotions. I'm still working on it, but at least I've got a rough draft. I think the music is beautiful. I think the lyrics are working, but I need to let someone else hear it to get their feedback.
And I went to my co-writer's house last night and we did a revision of our song from last week. He'd taken it to the critique session and we re-wrote lyrics to the lines that were unclear or confusing to the group. I truly enjoy co-writing, we always have fun and laugh! Writing alone can be, well, lonely! It's necessary for me to do, to get inside my head and really listen to what's being said in there (I know that sounds crazy, but you songwriters understand - right?).
But too much time alone can make me climb the walls. I always joke that solitary confinement is either for prisoners as punishment, or spiritual men as a way of finding God. So I guess it's either or both, depending on my mood or how creative I am. If I'm creative, it's heaven. If I can't write, then it's a hair-pulling experience.
OK, so then after we re-wrote the lyrics, I played him 3 of my song ideas I'd written for the TV show. He liked parts of each of them..I'd written some of them as exercises for myself. One song has a key-change for the chorus, another song I wrote two chords per bar as an exercise. I try to force myself to push myself out of my comfort zone. So I do exercises like that - but ultimately the song must sound good -right? Of course...
So I'm going to keep the verse to one of the songs which he liked, and write a new chorus. He thought he was going to hurt my feelings by telling me he didn't like the chorus and that he felt the energy drop on it. But I'm taking it as another opportunity to push myself, to take critique and use it to create something better. I will work on it today. I always felt that a song was "sacred", that once it was written it was like the Holy Scrolls - that it couldn't be altered. Whatever! Yes, it can be altered and improved. Especially if the initial song was written as an exercise, then I just have more exercise to big deal! So I'm excited about writing more music today. Lyrics are very time consuming for me, and I don't usually write music on the days I write lyrics. So the music wheels get squeaky. Today I will oil them up. Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

back in business

So I had a disappointing few weeks, with a major disappointment not getting on the songwriting TV show. But life must go on. So I'm back to writing. I have 6 songs with no lyrics, since I was trying to write as many musical ideas as possible. So I've got a lot of work to do. Lyrics can be intimidating for me - sometimes they flow, sometimes I struggle for days. Especially if the song is of a personal, emotional nature -sometimes it's hard for me to pin down my feelings in a way that is clearly understood by the listener. So many songs on the radio are NOT clearly understood, so I guess it's not imperative that the listener know what the heck is going on, but I like to try my best so that other people can relate to what I'm feeling. Isn't that what we're supposed to do as creative people is move other people's emotions, get them to think and feel? Or is it art for art's sake - just write for the pure pleasure of writing, regardless if anyone else "gets it"? I think it should be both - write for the pleasure and expression of my soul, and try to stretch into someone else's emotional boundaries a bit and get them to feel it too, if possible. Does that make sense? As if we all have a little bubble of emotion surrounding us, and those bubbles can collide or cross or become inter-twined with each other. So that for a split second, or 3 and 1/2 minutes to be precise, we can feel exactly the same way and understand each other. So music can bring our souls together by way of understanding each other. We can express through each other's joy and pain. How many times have I heard someone say they sent a song to someone to express what they wanted to say? Someone I know got divorced and sent Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" to his ex. I've sent songs to ex-boyfriends that said what I could not. So the songwriter can be the spokesperson for the soul, and not just the writer's soul, but humanity's soul. Wow, that's big. Makes me want to keep writing! Can't give up - never give up! I guess being a songwriter is a pretty lofty aspiration after all...

Monday, May 24, 2010

No Call back

Well, I had my audition for "Hit Makers" yesterday -stood in the 90 degree heat for 6 hours. When I went in the the audition room, they asked for my name and age and the name of the song. They also asked if I always sing to tracks, and I said no, that I write on piano but like to sing to tracks. I knew they wanted people who can perform live with piano or guitar, so that might have been one of the reasons I didn't get a callback. My voice didn't sound great, kind of raspy, probably because I was so extremely hot and hadn't drank much water, trying to avoid going to the bathroom because there was a long line. But anyway, I thought I did a good job auditioning despite the vocal issues. They only asked for a chorus and cut me off right after the chorus ended, so probably sang for 20 seconds, very short. I thought for sure I'd get a callback, I really believe in myself as a songwriter and I'm completely available to travel for 6 weeks to do the show. When I didn't get the call by 9 p.m. when they said they'd call, I got very depressed. Music and songwriting is such a hard, long road. It gets completely discouraging. It's not like I cared so much about this particular event, a TV show, it's just that when you work and work and struggle and try to stay positive, and do all the inner-work of working through my own "stuff", that it gets very discouraging to never get even a little bite of success. Years and years of nothing...To never get approval or even the slightest hope of something better is almost unbearable at times. I'm sure I'll pick myself up and start again, but I feel really low today, starting to wonder if it will ever happen for me. I wonder if my age had something to do with not getting called back, which is also very discouraging to think that I'm over the hill and won't have a shot at my dream - ever....I know I'm being negative, but it's what I feel right now.
What a hard three weeks it's been - first my house destroyed in the flood, then my family turning their backs on me in my time of need, now this. I guess that's three - so hopefully that's the end of the heart-break. I'll try to write something more uplifting next time, but today, reality has set in. I have a gig tonight - first one in 6 months, so hopefully that will make me feel better. It's hard to perform when my heart is hurting, but the show must go on!