Fearless Challenge, Practice, Songwriting, The Song Well

Thx Thx Thx

For a long while there was a blog I enjoyed at http://thxthxthx.com/ Leah Dieterich, the author would post three little gratitudes a day. She wrote mini thank you notes to whatever she felt gratitude for, (just like her mom had taught her). Something like this:

• Thanks open window, you invite birdsong into my kitchen which is calming and beautiful
• Thanks past Timmy, you made me all this cold brew that I can enjoy this morning as I sit down and start my day.
• Thanks glasses, you are so helpful when it’s time for me to drive to the store and buy groceries.

Gratitude in direct address has stuck with me ever since. It’s quirky and charming. I like actually thanking the things I enjoy, and letting them know why I enjoy them, what they are adding to my life. It’s just so . . . cool! (And goofy). Both of which appeal to me. 

Thank you blog reader. Writing a few times a week helps me develop thoughts and gives me an excuse to draw fun pictures. I’m happy we’ve gotten to share a bit of time together.  

[I end most blog posts with a fun drawing. This week I’ll posting a little musical sketch from “The Fearless Songwriting Challenge,” I host. To find out more join the email list below!]

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The moon floats up
The day counts down 
The bartender antes up the opening round
The Jukebox plays 
The needle drops 
The curtain closes at the coffee shop 

It’s ferry through the river Floor 
It’s a fecund field raising just one more 

The TV cheers 
The taps top off 
The quicker brown liquor opens up it’s shop 
The night grows up 
The chairs fall down 
The art bender nothers up one more round

It’s a brick that floats just like a stone
It’s beerly lease paid on second home 

Dinners served in take out bag 
Sponge baths taken with a used bar rag 
A coronation in a paper sac 
A fight where the ground is fighting back 

The night counts down 
The sun attacks 
The grass needs mowing but it’s on it’s back 
The Headache pounds 
The jukebox stopped 
The curtains opened at the coffee shop

Fearless Challenge, Imperfection, Songwriting, The Muse, The Song Well

The Skin of the Truth

For a long time I’ve done this thing I call the Fearless Songwriter Challenge. The challenge is to write seven songs in seven days. This week, I’m going to post the songs I’m writing during the week. They’ll be nowhere close to perfect.  Some of them likely won’t be very good.  That isn’t the point.  The point is writing. Sitting down and letting the work take shape. That’s how work gets done. And often, if I write seven in a row, at least one of the songs will be pretty good. (And that kind of is the point). If the Fearless Challenge sounds intriguing to you, sign up for newsletter or send me a message. I’ll send you a link.  

He don’t mind to playing chess with what she says is the truth 
He doesn’t sweat or shed tears for her broken home’s blues
Why walk that plank alone when they could slink two by two? 
Don’t ask them why they just sneaks by by the skin of the truth

He sits and listen at the bar for those cloven hooves
Some smile that might invite a night beneath a red, red roofs
A look that would like to share all their hidden tattoos
Don’t ask them why they just sneaks by by the skin of the truth

Some lovers lie by Gideon’s bible tying Gordian knots
Mo-telling what some bodies will do when some bodies get hot

It’s say that a grain of sugar can make a trial a treat
They say to lie is bitter, why’s lying together so so sweet
You’ll won’t catch his devil’s tale in a confession booth
Don’t ask them why they just sneaks by by the skin of the truth

Some lovers lie by Gideon’s bible tying Gordian knots
Mo-telling what some bodies will do when some bodies gets hot 

They say to lie is bitter, why’s lying together so so good?Don’t ask them why they just sneaks by by the skin of the truth

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Self Love, Songwriting, Writing

Writing is a gift

A while ago, I began writing the word “gift” on the page on which I’m songs. (Or, when forget, midway through). It’s a small reminder. The gift could be for me, or for someone else. I aspire to offer some small joy, insight or surprise in what gets written. I want it to be something a person will find useful and fun. 

Socks are useful, but aren’t fun. Revenge can be fun, (or exhilarating at least), but it’s not useful. A good gift offers some amount of joy. A great gift offers a quality of inevitability and surprise, something wanted but unimagined. 

That’s hard to find of course, but it’s worth seeking out. And aiming for that target I’m likely to stay away gifting socks, revenge, or self-serving cleverness. Writing “gift” aims me toward what I can offer and generosity.

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Imperfection, Practice, Writing

Letting the Dough Rise

A friend was writing about sourdough bread and creativity.  How setting out the dough to rise reminded them of setting a project aside for a for a bit to let it develop, to let the subconscious work its creative magic. This sparked a few things for me. 

One is that the yeast and sugar will do its thing with the flour in the dough without any intervention on my part. I can trust the process to work. The same is true of creativity. Once I start the process of writing, (assuming I see the process through), I’ll get my loaf of bread.  

Also, it’s no help to the process if I intervene, trying to raise the dough faster. Here I’m thinking about how my ego will try to engineer great writing with thoughts and strategy. Thoughts and strategy aren’t writing. (Sitting down and writing is writing). The process is consistent.  Write a draft, quickly. Then walk away for a while. When I sit down again for draft two, improvements are obvious.  

But finally, and most important, when I decide the dough is no good and throw it out before I’m done, I don’t get any bread.  

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Practice, Songwriting, The Song Well

July 21st 2020 Tune for Tuesday

Another quick one take: These days I’m finding my dad float up in my songs a lot. I suppose with last weeks prompt being “Morse Code,” it was nearly inevitable. He was a HAM radio operator. After dinner, if he was home, he was more often than not stationed in his “Ham Shack,” the room at the top of the kitchen stairs. When I grew up some dad’s would have an office (or these days a man cave), filled with the smell of tobacco or smoke. Dad’s room smelled of static and ozone.

Footsteps tap along the road 
Dots & dashes of morse code
Silver quarters in a jar 
Now I’m wondering where you are

Smoke signs burnt into the air 
A last goodbye, well thee fair 
Ash that echoes from afar 
Now I’m wondering where you are 

Our neighbors sleep beneath their stones 
Someday I’ll be one of those 
Driven home in a long black car 
Will I meet you where you are?

A call out on your radio 
To dads we never really know 
W1HFR 
Now I’m wondering where you are