A Songwriter’s Strategy–of a sort

Flat Screens, Arrraaagggghhh!

I spend too much time looking at flat screens.  Whether they belong to a lap top, a desk top, a recording device, a camera back, a cell phone, it seems that’s what I do.  I have two actual paper journals I write in.  One is in my truck, the other is in my big, black wallet (man purse).  I use them to write down song ideas and fragments when I am out and about.

I also carry around a Martin Backpacker, so if I am out and have time I can work out chords for the songs I write.  My computer’s song file tells me I have only written four songs this year, but my paper journals tell me that the number is much higher.

My songwriting ability is higher than my songwriting time.  I try to make strategies that work for my time-frame.  In 2007, when My wife, Cherie, went in for her second round of cancer treatments in two years, I sat with her while she went through chemo.  I looked around at the others sitting in their big chemo-chairs, and started to write about my observations.

They come and they go

they laugh and they pray

some have met their demons

some just hide a way

there’s hope in the air

there’s also despair

but that they have in common

is the poison they share

There’s more to it, and I’ve performed it a few times and it seems to go over really well.  The problem is that I find it a hard song for me to sing.  I choke on the words a little.  I mean, Cherie is OK, but breast cancer in 2005, and then ovarian cancer in 2007 has left me a little weird about it.

Sometimes, I just let something I’ve read in a book,  or watched on TV wallow around in my brain until something rises up and demands my attention.  Like a scene in Laurence Block‘s, Small Town, and I wrote:

He liked ’em hot

And she liked ’em caught

and tied to the posts of her bed…

Or, I wrote CSI Blues based on Cherie’s and my addiction to the series.  The point is that I wrote them OFF SCREEN!  I need to break away more often from all these flat screens and write more often with a pencil.


One thought on “A Songwriter’s Strategy–of a sort

  1. I agree, about being off the electronic screen devices! Moving a pen across a page accesses a part of the brain/consciousness that I am not sure a keyboard ever touches.

    Though, I usually use the computer for the revision, and I find then that I go deeper with the work, after having started with the pen.

    Also, it is not weird to me that you choke up when singing this song. Consider it profound, moving and honest.


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