3 Drinks Later (Dancing with Travolta) (#FAWM)

My first complete song I posted on FAWM (February Album Writing Month – similar to NaNoWriMo for writers in November), inspired by the opening of the new Edison bar and lounge at Disney Springs.

First the lyrics followed by a work tape on SoundCloud:

3 Drinks Later (Dancing with Travolta)
Copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes

Verse 1

I was starting my winter vacation
Flying to my destination
Then somewhere over Bermuda
Halfway to Antigua and Barbuda
Over that famous Triangle
To a disco in San Francisco

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing with Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

Verse 2

I was starting to get my groove on
A mustache was tickling my abdomen
Then somewhere after the Hustle
Travolta turns into Kurt Russell
I’m bumping on the floor with Goldie
A waiter is passing out Stolis

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing with Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

Verse 3

The disco ball is spinning on the dance floor
Heading from the front door to the back door
A red Camaro is waiting
Driver is someone I’m dating
Road 24 with Aunt Ola
I think my name is Lola

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing like Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

Game of Surrender (#Poem #Lyrics #FAWM)

You have me here for a reason
In the land of insecurity
Writing songs fighting the imposter syndrome
On the road to tranquility

Oh my soul why do you cry
You were made for this
Accept the gift
Don’t ask why
Play the game, the game of surrender

You bring me closer you whisper in my ear
You rest my head on your shoulder
You wipe away my tears of fear
Leaning on you makes me bolder

Oh my soul why do you cry
You were made for this
Accept the gift
Don’t ask why
Play the game, the game of surrender

It’s been a struggle your whole life through
It doesn’t get easier for them or for you
Just don’t give up playing notes that are blue

Oh my soul why do you cry
You were made for this
Accept the gift
Don’t ask why
Play the game, the game of surrender

i Saw Him on a Video (#FAWM)

I Saw Him on a Video (copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes)
Songwriting Prompt: Retro

Verse 1

I saw him on a video, his name was Clay Mills you know
I jolted out of my seat and stared at a familiar face
He was much younger, his name was that of his grandfather
But if his dad was who I think he was, it couldn’t be erased

Chorus

I saw him on a video
My heart beat a little bit faster
I remembered those nights in the backseat of his Camaro
Nine months later
I said goodbye to the only boy I would ever love in 1985
I saw him on a video

Verse 2

It was like living in a small town, it was us vs them now
His father was a big shot, his mother a busybody gossip
They whispered their sweet offer to my poor mother and step father
Treating me like I was some kind of mid century trollop

Chorus

I saw him on a video
My heart beat a little bit faster
I remembered those nights in the backseat of his Camaro
Nine months later
I said goodbye to the only boy I would ever love in 1985
I saw him on a video

Bridge

I remember the day he went away
It wasn’t his choice, he lost his voice
When that evil killer called cancer claimed his life
His son was given away, and I lost two that day
The day the father and son were one, I was someone else’s wife

Chorus

I saw him on a video
My heart beat a little bit faster
I remembered those nights in the backseat of his Camaro
Nine months later
I said goodbye to the only boy I would ever love in 1985
I saw him on a video

Chorus

I saw him on a video
My heart beat a little bit faster
I remembered those nights in the backseat of his Camaro
Nine months later
I said goodbye to the only boy I would ever love in 1985
I saw him on a video

Last Night (#FAWM)

Last Night (copyright 2018 Kathy Holmes)
Songwriting Prompt: Last Night

Verse 1

Last night I almost froze to death
Retracing my past, shadows on my breath
Fears gone wild like an animal caged
Bouncing off the ceiling like a woman crazed
You reached for me, offering saving Grace
With a simple word when you said, “Stay!”

Chorus

Last night like that first night was the best night I’d ever had
You light up my heart like a mother’s son out of rehab
You caress me out of my cave with no need to hide
Last night, yes last night, so thankful to be alive

Verse 2

Today is uncertain, tonight is just a tease
We might go to Heaven, we might run off to Belize
The cats might keep us awake
The earth could move like a San Francisco quake
But one thing I know for sure
Your love is as sweet as a Christmas brunch liqueur

Chorus

Last night like that first night was the best night I’d ever had
You light up my heart like a mother’s son out of rehab
You caress me out of my cave with no need to hide
Last night, yes last night, so thankful to be alive

Bridge

Stay just a little bit longer
Stay for a lifetime
Last night was the best night
Making our love stronger and stronger

Chorus

Last night like that first night was the best night I’d ever had
You light up my heart like a mother’s son out of rehab
You caress me out of my cave with no need to hide
Last night, yes last night, so thankful to be alive

An Every Day Narcissist (#FAWM)

An Every Day Narcissist (Copyright 2018 Kathy Holmes)
Songwriting prompt – Narcissist

Verse 1

“You’re so vain” Carly Simon sang
Remember when you thought that song was about you
The way you combed your hair
The way you moved down there
You played for the crowd in the mirror’s view

Chorus

Oh, Vanity, where have you gone?
Painting your image in the morning sun
You replaced conceit in the day of innocence
Now you’re just an every day Narcissist

Verse 2

You asked me out assuming, I’d go
And so I did
But when you went away I began to pray
That when you returned I’d walk away
I’d become like you ruled by my Ego’s Id

Chorus

Oh, Vanity, where have you gone?
Painting your image in the morning sun
You replaced conceit in the day of innocence
Now you’re just an every day Narcissist

Bridge

Vanity is like a drug
You pass it on, feeling so smug
It grows and grows just like a weed
Concerned with yourself and only your needs

Chorus

Oh, Vanity, where have you gone?
Painting your image in the morning sun
You replaced conceit in the day of innocence
Now you’re just an every day Narcissist

(*Carly Simon, 1972)

We Used to Be (#FAWM)

FAWM (February Album Writing Month) has begun, at least at 7 am New York time. This is my first time and I think my approach for writing 14 songs in 28 days is to write the lyrics upfront and then go back and write the music. After FAWM is over, I can work on the mix and other production tasks to, hopefully, release my first album.

We Used to Be (copyright 2018 Kathy Holmes)
Songwriting Prompt – Breakups

Verse 1

We used to be so in love
You were everything I’d been dreaming of
You were supposed to be my second chance
I passed men by without a glance
But now you’ve grown cold, and we’re a cliche about to unfold

Chorus

But wait…
I refuse to be
That’s not our fate
Can’t you see
I won’t let us fail statistically
At what we used to be

Verse 2

Words were said what we couldn’t hold back
It was so unlike you to go on the attack
You turned away, pounding those computer keys
I ran out the door, grabbing the Baracuda keys
Pedal to the metal, radio blasting, making my plans, consequences everlasting

Chorus

No wait…
I refuse to be
That’s not our fate
Can’t you see
I won’t let us fail statistically
At what we used to be

Bridge

Running on the beach as fast as I can
Knowing in my heart there’s no better man
Turning back, praying to God

Chorus

Cuz wait…
I refuse to be
That’s not our fate
Can’t you see
I won’t let us fail statistically
At what we used to be

Tormented Soul (#FAWM)

Tormented Soul (Copyright 2018 Kathy Holmes)
Songwriting Prompt: Nighttime Fears

Verse 1

Tormented soul of the night
Dreaming of music, everything’s all right
Throat constricts in the winter’s cold
How did I get so damn old?

Chorus

Tormented soul, oh yeah
Heroes of youth too many have left
Tormented soul, oh yeah
Exhaling to see my breath

Verse 2

Tormented soul of the night
Dreaming of my name shining in bright lights
Mouth so parched in the desert summer
Dreams vanish – I should have been a drummer

Chorus

Tormented soul, oh yeah
Heroes of youth too many have left
Tormented soul, oh yeah
Exhaling to see my breath

Bridge

Living like a rock star
Too busy earning bread
What ever happened to the music
Making up for lost time until I am dead

Chorus

Tormented soul, oh yeah
Heroes of youth too many have left
Tormented soul, oh yeah
Exhaling to see my breath

 

#FAWM and Poems by Maya Angelou

As I sip my morning coffee from my chair in the den overlooking our front porch, I select from a stack of books and open “Poems” by Maya Angelou. Her poetry resonates with me, even though I’m not Black, maybe because we’re both women, but mostly because we’re both artists. I can only aspire to write such fine poetry as she.

When I wrote the 50 poems in 50 days, I was coping with sleepless nights in the in-between place, writing on my iPhone from my bed. No editing, no thinking, just capturing feelings as they swirled through my mind.

But they’re not really poems either – they’re somewhere between poems and lyrics – they’re pre-lyrics, I guess you could say. And from them I can cull material for my songs.

I’m about to embark on FAWM (“February Album Writing Month,” similar to NaNoWriMo, starting February 1st so I’ll be writing something to meet the “14 songs in 28 days” goals and not analyzing whether it’s a lyric or a poem.

Lyrics vs. Poems

When I submitted my first song for professional feedback, my mentor said the writing was very good but added that it was more poem than lyric. He gave me some suggestions on how to transition it into a song. I took his advice and Does Everybody Lie? became Everybody Lies.

So when I was writing “poems” during the wee hours of the morning trying to cope with our temporary housing, I noticed that they sometimes seemed more lyric than poem. I turned to my Berklee professor Pat Pattison for his words on the difference between a poem and a lyric. Here’s what he had to say on a Writer’s Digest article.

The middle-of-the-night poem/lyric writing was a valuable exercise because I began to think more like a poet/songwriter. I also think I may have now transitioned from novelist to songwriter – that’s certainly where my heart is. I’m also practicing the keys, working on my music production craft, thinking that perhaps 2018 is the year I go “all in” when it comes to music.

 

Home for Christmas

When my literary agent said that my writing had a “poetic, almost lyrical rhythm” to it, I began to wonder what that meant. I didn’t know my father and his family during my childhood, but I’d heard that my paternal grandmother had written poetry and my paternal grandfather and family were all musicians.

So I began writing poems, and my first song release, Everybody Lies, started out as a poem. During the last 50 days of the last 7 months living in temporary housing as our new house was being built, I wrote poems every night. I’ll be sorting through them to see if any have song potential.

We’re still unpacking but once I get a bit settled, I’ll be making plans for 2018 and where I go with my art next year. I’m working on an album, which I’d love to finish next year, and I’m working on a novel, too.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is the perfect song for me this year and this house is gift enough, although I wouldn’t mind getting a new set of speakers for my studio. 🙂

I wish you all a happy holiday season and a fabulous new year!