Saturday, November 13, 2010

One Hundred

The grizzled old Nashville song writer chastised the audience “You’ll never be a songwriter by writing two songs a year.” It was one of those events I was paid to be a technical baby sitter. My job was to be there in case something went wrong. We were in a cozy hotel ballroom and chances of disaster at the “Song Writers Symposium” were remote in the extreme. Being devoted to my paycheck, however, I sat behind the lighting console reading a book until this guy in his 2 pack a day gravel baritone started talking.  “You want to write the perfect song, but if the song don’t flow when you’re writing it, it won’t flow when someone’s singing it.” He had my attention. “I set my sights on writing one hundred songs. The first few dozen were junk, but I got better and I didn’t give up. I got better and faster at the same time. Number ninety eight got recorded. Number ninety nine made it to the top forty on the Country charts which at the time meant I could afford to buy a new car. Number  one  hundred made it to number five on the charts and after that I quit my job to write songs full time.  It took me a little short of three years. You have to let go of a song sometime.  Once someone sings it on a record it ain’t yours no more anyway”. I’m sure the lawyers that had the stage later that day would have argued that last point. I was reading intently by then and never heard a word they had to say. 
When a friend told me that something in one of my posts helped her at a time she really needed help, I was taken a little aback. I write for myself.  In many ways it is purgative. It is like placing troubles on a leaf and letting them float down the river. The Songwriter’s words came back to me, however, when I noticed I had passed 40 posts. My writing was getting better. At the same time, I was posting more often.  It hurts now to go back and look at my early things. I had wanted to write about things important to me, but my thoughts, while clear in my head, where incoherent on the page.   There are so many things I want to say but I still lack the ability. Perhaps after 50 more posts the words will flow, perhaps sing.
The confidence my progression as a writer has given me has inspired me to again follow the path I set out on when I was 17. I will be an Artist. I have decided to produce 100 Water Lilly Icons. I will not dally. I have set a goal of producing one every two weeks.  It is enough time to be creative but not enough to ponder. I must paint, not think. I must trust my instincts, accept accidents and use them in my composition. It has become a great lesson in loving life, as it flows. 

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