Music vs. Fiction: Music Always Wins #amwriting #songwriting

January has just begun and already I’m in trouble. Choosing to focus on writing and music, I realize I must designate one as the priority because both of them take enormous skill and time and focus to succeed. Sure, I can pursue both, but I must choose which will be number one in my life. I keep returning to this truth for me.

Music always wins. And now I have a separate designated studio in my home, which is great because then the cats can’t chew the wires. 🙂

But songwriting still counts as writing, right? Will that be enough or will I have to fit in fiction, too? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Besides, I can always write fiction during breaks from music because you always need breaks, right? But there are just so many pieces to a song, including vocal warmups, as Shelly Peiken writes about in her latest blog post here.



#Blogtoberfest Day 18: Writing Lyrics (the Great Juggling Act)

I’m pretty sure I won’t really be doing NaNoWriMo – oh, sure, I’ll continue to write the tome I seem to be working on when the mood strikes, ie, a scene or emotion comes to me that I must write down. Maybe because these days music is my main focus. And that is quite a juggling act.

In Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure, published by Berklee Press, it says this about writing lyrics upfront, right in the introduction, the first page of the book:

You will have no trouble learning about lyric structure. It is simple, just like juggling. When a juggler keeps four balls in the air at once it may seem like magic, but there is no magic involved. The juggler learned by throwing one ball up and catching it, throwing and catching, stopping and starting the motion; always gaining greater control over the movement of the ball. Then came two balls, then three, throwing and catching, stopping and starting, with greater and greater control.

As a lyricist, you must learn to juggle four balls.

1. How many phrases does it have?

2. How long is each phrase?

3. What is the rhythm of each phrase?

4. How are rhymes arranged?

And that’s just the lyrics. Then there’s the music, and music production. Each piece requires great skill, learning the craft, and practice. And then they all must work together – prosody, that’s what it’s all about.

#Blogtoberfest Day 12: Biker Dream (#poem)

I saw them coming on their Harleys
Squinty eyes of a hungry army
The sun was hot and the desert thirsty
Silver bullets armed and dirty

A scarf headed man pointed north
“I hope your loved ones have scattered forth
Explosion is scheduled at high noon”
He looked at his watch and added, “Soon”

How did I get here so far ahead?
My kitty hiding underneath the bed
Will they escape and will we reunite?
Away from danger in the morning sunlight

I’d run from the desert and its special fears
How did I return, hanging with bikers drinking beer?
Wake me, I’m dreaming of ugly times from my past
Where the monster from then appears and outlasts

Blogging the Grief (#poem)

Tropical air breathing
Lifts me when I’m grieving
The death certificate arriving
Reminds me I’m alive and thriving

Those around me ignoring
Dismissing me like that floors me
I was here before them
Who I am is without shame

Their secrets they hide
Until the day they died
They dumped on me
Instead of taking responsibility

Emotions overcome my brain
Their reactions are so lame
Where do I take this grief inside
Do what I always do, blog it online

Attack, deny like mixing a song
Delay, if need be, anything to not be wrong
Like the phoenix rising from the dust
I stand tall and in God I trust

Respect Yourself (#poem #lyrics #hiphop)

It’s a time for transformation
No time for hesitation
Just give it some consideration
Respect yourself

Remember when we cleaned up good
On a Sunday in the neighborhood
Wearing white suits, hats, and boots
Respect yourself

Walk away from, don’t even speak of the ugly
No place in church, on the streets, or gully
Watch your mouth, you shouldn’t sully
Respect yourself

People excuse themselves today
“We were born that way,” they say
It’s time to put excuses away
Respect yourself

We were all born as sinners it’s true
Attracted to flames they woo
But it’s time to put on a brand new you
Respect yourself

In a world hellbent on destruction
It seems like it’s just a delusion
But listen I’ve seen the fruition
Respect yourself

When people come together instead of undone
“Heeding the words “Repent” – yes that’s the one
A man called John, the other is the Son
Respect yourself

It all begins with me and you
I’ve seen it done, believe me, it’s true
I know you can do it, too
Respect yourself

50/90 Day 2 (#poem)

Narcissist or Sociopath whatever the name
You hid it well your walk of shame
Hiding in plain sight with the hero in black
The first sign of foobar throwing away the white hat

Troubles between us brewing now and then
Your secrets and lies spun your little children
Like a playground merry go round banging your head
Uncovering the truth about the men you wed

Just another American family looking good on the outside
In a world of corruption, chasing sin and vice
Running away from our Creator slapping His hand
Reinventing ourselves pretending we the man

The world spins on as everything is questioned
And the world isn’t round I’ve even heard  mentioned
Men are women and women are men
The guns rage on and violence never ends

Oh my dear ladies and fellow man
Swearing like a street hood in Gangsta rap
The dignity of the Black man creating Jazz and Blues
Has surrendered to the fight and taken you

We’re headed in the wrong direction and I can’t stop this thing all alone
Like a boulder thundering down the mountain in Indiana Jones
I need your help can’t you see
It starts with Jesus, then you and me

Love is Not Free (#poem #lyrics)

I’ve been listening to Stevie Nicks a lot lately taking me back to my younger days driving my black Pontiac or maybe it was my red Chevy. Anyway, now that I’ve been writing poems and lyrics, I noticed how poetic her lyrics often are (they would never pass muster from NSAI’s feedback police – lol).

Anyway, one night after listening to Stand Back by Stevie Nicks, I wrote these words in poem form (for a future song, perhaps).

Love Is Not Free (copyright 2018 Screamie Birds Studios)

I gave my heart away for the first time
The usual story, the tired old line
Ready willing and able he said
Down the garden path was I led?
One lie slipped into another
9 months later I couldn’t hide it from my mother

Not free not free
Oh the price I paid
Like my father losing it on a palm tree
Too sick to move one night I laid
Heart broken over a missing father I say
Love is not free, not free, not free

My heart saw something in his eyes
Black leather jacket he wore like a prize
I couldn’t resist the pull was too strong
Could something so right be so wrong?
I tried running away but I turned around
Under his spell my love was profound

Not free not free
Oh the price I paid
Like my father losing it on a palm tree
Too sick to move one night I laid
Heart broken over a missing father I say
Love is not free, not free, not free

Love is free they all sang
Living together is never a sin
But when the tree bore fruit where was he?
Suddenly love wasn’t so free

Not free not free
Oh the price I paid
Like my father losing it on a palm tree
Too sick to move one night I laid
Heart broken over a missing father I say
Love is not free, not free, not free

The Long Way (Song of the Day)

Not sure how much more poetry I’ll be writing this month. Even yesterday’s poem was more song lyric than poem. Besides, I’m rushing to get all of my evaluations done from NSAI before this year’s membership expires next month. So I’m pretty much focusing on songs, not poems or novels.

So I’m listening to The Long Way and had to laugh out loud at the line “Your hand-me-down ’99 Impala.” Not only would that be in the category of “who cares” when it comes to classic cars you would mention in a song, but there is no such thing as a ’99 Impala – Chevy took a hiatus from making them from 1997-2000. And notice in the video, they’re driving a ’63 Impala – that’s a classic worth mentioning and I had one.

I’m so annoyed by some people today just making things up. Dude, how hard is it to check your facts on the internet? Facts don’t seem to matter to them.

But I do have hope. The idea behind writing this song was of  “… having a real conversation because we don’t have these anymore…” paraphrasing what Brett Eldridge said when Matt Rogers brought this idea to him in their first songwriting session (Taste of Country). Kudos to them for realizing this and doing their part to, maybe, turn this thing around. (And for those getting wise to Facebook and other social media.)

Technology should be our servant, not our master.


Love You Forever (#poem pre #Lyrics)

Written for male singer in doowop style – an experiment in Collab. My partner’s music was amazing but my lyrics didn’t work as posted below. I like the song idea but will need major editing to work in this song or it may have to find its own music.

Lyrics by Kathy Holmes, 2018

I met you on a beach in California
You were looking for a temporary lover you told me as a warnin’
It wouldn’t last forever, your heart was in Minnesota
Your wavy blond hair hid the sadness in your blue eyes
But when you smiled I knew I couldn’t leave your side

Some say love is for losers
Some say love is for boozers
Some say love is for bluesers
But if I’m one of those
Just know
I will love you forever

And then one night just before sunrise
We were making plans, you were going to be mine
You said meet me here at 5 on Friday night
I was waiting at the last stoplight
When I saw your face
You got in a car with a Minnesota license plate

Some say love is for losers
Some say love is for boozers
Some say love is for bluesers
But if I’m one of those
Just know
I will love you forever

Sometimes love stays for a day
Sometimes love stays for a year
No matter how long love appears
It remains in your heart forever

Some say love is for losers
Some say love is for boozers
Some say love is for bluesers
But if I’m one of those
Just know
I will love you forever

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)
Songwriting Challenge: No Chorus

Lyrics, copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes

I searched for an old friend the other day
I met him in California in the sixth grade
I never expected to find him that way
When I saw the obituary of my old Kentucky Flame

I remember the day this Kentucky boy met this California girl
You never forget the first to call you on the phone or carry your books home from school
We listened to Elvis records on my record player in the garage
He said he loved me and chased me around my front yard

He played guitar and I wrote songs
He said he’d never seen the ocean but he’d seen it all along
Seems like yesterday we played those innocent kissing games
How could the light go out for my old Kentucky Flame?