First, there’s so much to say. There’s so much to tell. I want to tell you everything, but I think I should make it quick. Here’s the highlight reel, then we’ll get into the topic of today’s bloggy blog. (Blog E. Blog):
Fear, coffee, San Pellegrino, vacation home, snow, subzero temps, dance party, change of plans, meeting of the minds, TLC, Salt ‘n Peppa, Asti Spumonte, co-write, songwriting, crisis of confidence, weight watchers points, your next best self, my next best self, Pakistani drama, receipts, Radon, Nashville, emails, kitchen table, space heater, motherhood, money, pancakes, bedhead, haircuts, pool cue, birthday prep, and a trip to the post office.
Now that’s out of the way: Peter Himmelman’s online Songwriting course Winter Session 2019.
I can’t remember when I finished my first life coaching session (The Art School- amazing). I just know that it was my first step into finding the next path I should be on. I love songwriting and I love the idea of songwriting in a group. What motivates me? A stage and a deadline. Because I’m a show off and a recovering late submission student (with an automatic 10% off my grade). I don’t miss deadlines too much anymore.
First my friend Bob mentioned it, then my friend Simeon mentioned it and then I signed up for the class. I already knew I loved me some Himmelman. I admire his spirit, his honesty, his vulnerability that, to me, looks like fearlessness. I don’t know if it feels like fearlessness for him, but that’s what it looks like from here.
I joined. Six weeks of songwriting. Six weeks of prompts. Oh wait, I’m already writing a bunch of songs from prompts for my podcast, Prompt Queens. No big whoop.
I didn’t know what to expect from the course, but wow, it’s been so great. Last night I wrote and turned in week 5 song. Next week is our last song. Himmelman’s feedback is so valuable as is the feedback from fellow students. What I was not expecting was how interesting and diverse and different the other writers in the class would be and how it felt like a different gathering of voices, a different artfulness than the one to which I’ve become accustomed.
Did I say that already? Maybe I’ve said this already. Doesn’t matter. It’s worth saying again. So here are the songs I’ve written for 5 weeks:
Tickets to Springsteen- this week was crazy so I submitted a song I had written over a year ago around the time Stephen from the cafe suddenly died. I haven’t done anything with it so it was an opportunity to get some feedback and dust it off, re-write some stuff.
Stuck in Time- I wrote this song for the podcast the same week as I needed to write for this class so I thought it counted. I like it. It’s a slow, reflective, first person narrative about being stuck in time because of a big big thing you did once when you were young and that’s how people know you.
Aquamarine- I did not follow the prompt. I wrote it at Folk Alliance and on the plane flight home. It’s first person narrative musing on the beauty of someone else. I like the idea of muse and inspiration. I like the idea of people inspiring art with their art. THat’s what it’s about.
The Road Is- After three weeks of first person I was sick of myself so I wrote a song with the intention of not being anywhere in it. I did not write to the prompt because Himmelman gives hard ones that make me feel scared and exposed and you’d think I’d be cool with that, but dude, it was informative to see the places I do not want to go. Turns out there are quite a few.
A breakthrough’s gonna come- I wrote it last night. I wrote it to the prompt: Stages of Birth. I find it interesting there are only two women in this class. I thought to myself, “If I don’t find a way to actually talk about this thing that I actually have first hand knowledge of, then I’m a total coward.” I like what I wrote. It’s not as close to the flame as I would desire, but it’s not that far off. Birth, childbirth, pain and power at the same time? Not easy song topics. Challenge accepted.
YET TO BE WRITTEN. But you know what he did? He gave us each individual song prompts. Here’s mine: Hope- write a song that Earth, Wind and Fire would be dying to cover.
Oh Peter. I love how much faith you have in my abilities. I love that you think I can actually do this. I don’t want to let you down. I do not want to throw away my shot.
All this to say, once again, I’m staring at a group of songs I never thought I’d write. Some of those songs are pretty good, actually. They are making me want to change my recording schedule and put them in the line up (don’t worry, I won’t do that). Once again I looked around, I listened and I think the Good Lord took me by the hand to show me something beautiful he thought I’d like. And I do like it. And this is a world of Wonder and my listening skills are improving and I’m curious to find.
So thank you, Bob. Thank you, Simeon. Thank you, Peter. Thank you, Hope, for working in the best interests of the Hope Dunbar Corporation.