Saturday, August 18, 2007


Blown Away

I hate mixing post topics, but before I get down to the business at hand, I must say that it is raining here. A nice drizzly rain. After the last thunderous downpour, this is our first real all-day-gray rainy day. Amazingly, the crunchy brown grass is turning green and growing again. Doesn't take much, does it?

Okay, now that the weather is out of the way . . . .

For most of my life I've been concerned about my voice, specifically my singing voice. A couple of negative experiences while growing up have caused me to doubt the sound of my singing voice. I'm pretty sure it's crap and I won't sing in front of anyone (except babies, and periodically my kids and husband) because I'm afraid of how my voice will be received. Frankly, I don't need any more knocks where this subject is concerned. As a young adult, I wouldn't even sing alone. I sing alone now all the time (especially in the car), so I've improved on that account. Obviously God isn't offended or I would've been struck dead by now. (Don't you love how non-judgmental God is? Not like us crazy humans.) In comparison, I've had no trouble accepting my speaking voice. I used to be in speech, the competitive kind, in middle school and I placed pretty well. Also, there was no cringing going on when I spoke, so I never developed a complex about it.

Ironically, when I really started writing, I discovered that writers were very concerned about voice in their work. I was too. How do you create a distinctive writing voice such that others know your work upon reading it? My writing voice has become pretty clear over the years. With that, I've branched into attempting other sorts of effects with my writing. I've tried writing about myself in third-person, which is a kick. I've tried poetry and humor. I've tried using fiction techniques (storytelling and description) in nonfiction. I've invented new words. One thing I'm still working on is how to use words in a musical way. How to write as though the words can be sung.

Having not been encouraged to be musical while growing up, the whole music thing is foreign to me. Well, not completely foreign, but it's not second nature. (I had a family full of crazy artists, not musicians, so art was encouraged up to my eyeballs, which leaves me grateful beyond belief.) So then, I've been puzzling about how to pair music with lyrics. (One of my writers group buddies thinks I'm over-thinking this, and he's probably right.)

My husband is a musical genius, although he won't agree with me on this. He has dabbled with guitar since he was a teenager and can pick out many songs by ear. He can also compose amazing riffs and hooks on guitar. He does this as a hobby, as relaxation, so it can take him a long time to develop a song. He's been working on one for the past few months, refining and adding to it, and I've been listening to him play wondering how to write lyrics for the song. It's catchy and very pretty, sounding like a love song of sorts, but with a hint of longing. As I was listening yesterday, suddenly the words "emerald heart" came into my head, followed by several other lines as the chorus. I was blown away. Holy cow! My first lyrics to an actual song! Whoop! Whoop!

(Okay, maybe not my first. I made up a song I'd sing to Youngest Son when he was a baby. I'd hold him up facing the mirror after his bath and sing something with the words bouncing, baby, boy, bubbles, and bath, but, Lord help me, I can't for the life of me remember the thing. I also once wrote a song - music and lyrics - while dreaming, but it was gone when I woke.)

I'm so excited! My first lyrics that I've written down and remember. Now I've just got to get beyond one stanza.

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