Music Theory, Songwriting, The Muse, Writing

Saturday Songwriting: Where the Mountain Would Be

Community has always been one of the most important legs on the stool I rest my songwriting on. It should be a no brainer. The more people that join in, the better music gets. But community also to be one of the first things I forget. I was reminded about the importance of community again in an email this morning.  

My friend wrote briefly about how timed writes we’ve done togetherhave helped her. I met Allison this spring over Zoom when we were getting together every Saturday at 1:00PM because how else were we going to ride out Covid-19 and social distancing? I stopped hosting those Zooms because I returned to work, and my time got tight. (That’s also when these emails started). 

We have a nice little community of folks getting these emails right now. One way we could strengthen the community would be simply to post the song on the Fearless Forum after you’ve written, and check in with what other people have done over the weekend.  Another way, would be be to set up a time to write together (at a distance) with a friend or someone in the community, and check in on that.  (Here’s a place to do that on the forum). I’ve taken part in some great video work groups over the past few months where people will check-in at the start and then just dive in and write for a set amount of time while.   

Here’s a link to Edward Curtis’s Canyon De Chelly

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Boundaries, Imperfection, Self-Care

Bells and Whistles

Today, I started the process learning a new app to which I recently I subscribed. Finding out how it works; what are its bells and whistles? As I attempted to connect the app to a different program I use, I was prompted to upgrade (and pay more). The bells and whistles are doled out at different price levels.  

How badly did I want the integration? At that moment, it seemed really important. If nothing else, it would have offered a sweet dopamine hit in the ‘ol neuroreceptors. It’s the same dilemma that presents itself anytime I buy a phone, computer, or other sundry gadget. It’s what do I need versus what I want.  

Tonight, I held back. I’ve spent the last week or so paring a lot of bells and whistles out of my life. I talk a lot about being able to define what is “enough” for myself. It’s really important to know what I’ll use, and what I actually need. (And in the end it was more than I wanted to spend). 

But I wanted the bells and whistles really bad.   

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The Serenity Prayer Problem

You’ll likely know The Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

The problem is in the final caveat: How and where do I gain the wisdom to know the difference?

I think Ben Bergeron suggested an answer on Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism” podcast.


He suggested a person who complains, is nearly always complaining about something out of their control. Does this mean I shouldn’t complain? Not necessarily, after all complaining could be a signal to let me know something is out of my control. What I might do if I find myself complaining is ask myself how I might accept what is happening, (or how I might act to change it).

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Songwriting, The Song Well, Tunesday

Tunesday: Sept. 8th: The Good Times Are Here

Every Tunesday I post a boldly imperfect, one-take song draft of a song.

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Can’t sleep tonight
for the roses in my sheets
Can’t sleep tonight
For the thorns my soul does keep
The highway is all backed up
The devil’s toasting cheers
The good times are here

Don’t want to fight
with the rise of the levee
Don’t want to fight
with the boiling of the sea
I’d rather season all my french fries
with the saline from my tears
The good times are here

The moonlight is a mule
Caffeine espresso fuel
My cupboard’s dreams are bare
I want sleep but sleep don’t care

I can’t sleep tonight
I’m locked out in the cold
I can’t sleep tonight
I’m a weed on a side road
I don’t have to find my way home
but I ain’t sleeping here
The good times are here

The orchestra is playing
And banjos are all I hear
The good times are here.

Boundaries, Resistance

Reading the News

One of the lessons of Tiny Habits is to simply watch what I’m already doing, (without judgment) and build on that. This is a way of looking at where my motivations lie. (It’s also a lesson of from animal trainers—try as I might, climbing a tree is a behavior I’m not likely to elicit from a seal).   

Interesting things that come out of this. For instance, in my mind, I’d love to be someone who doesn’t read the news. There’s a lot of judgment and effort I’ve put into not reading the news. 

Yet, I still do it daily.  

I’ve found I can build habits into my life that preclude reading so much news, and also that I actually just enjoy reading the news.  

There’s a chance I just haven’t tripped over the correct approach to excluding news from my life. There’s also a really good chance that all the judgment and shame I lay on myself over my news reading habit is just wasted energy.