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.

 

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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!

Sound of Silence (#poem)

The Sound of Silence rings through my ears
Still Hooked on a Feeling after so many years
It was all ahead of me, this romance called life
Falling in Love, becoming somebody’s wife

That year was amazing, I sat next to Tom
Singing on stage, dreaming of the Prom
Co-rec nights swimming in the pool
Merrill walking me home from school

Cathi and I wearing red dresses
Selling yearbook ads looking so festive
Flirting with firemen in tennis classes
Running from dates making passes at dances

Boys crashing sleepover nights with friends
Like a scene out of Grease wearing my pink nightgown
Not Sandra Dee, but “Hey, Mrs. Robinson!”
Had a crush on Dustin Hoffman or was it Benjamin?

Those Nights in White Satin I dream of tonight
The music remembers, making everything all right
Like the drum beat of the world heard by August Rush
The Sound of Silence is that Kind of Hush

#NaNoWriMo, #NaPoWriMo, 50 Day Blog Challenge

Thankfully, today is the last day of NaNoWriMo, something I participated in once and never again. This year I was tempted to do something to feel part of a writing community but nothing quite attracted me. But when 3 things converged: NaNoWriMo, my subsequent discovery of NaPoWriMo (similar to NaNo but for poets), and a writer friend posted her 50 Day Blog Challenge, I decided to do a combo of all three.

Why poems? It started when I started feeling overwhelmed during this time of transition, selling our home in Las Vegas, moving back to Florida but living in temporary housing while waiting for our new house to be built. I was lying in bed, unable to sleep in the middle of the night, so I grabbed my iPhone and started expressing myself through poetry, thinking it could all be fodder for future songwriting.

Then I started getting addicted to expressing myself through poems. I also realized that those who advise you to do object writing as a songwriting exercise have it all wrong. It shouldn’t be about an object – it should be about a feeling. Certainly for me.

I think I ended up writing about 55 poems and so the challenge ends with the ending of NaNoWriMo, which ends today. I’ll probably continue to write poems because I find it quite a satisfying way to express a feeling or an idea or an observation. And it was a wonderful way to discover other poets and bloggers in the WordPress community who stopped by to follow my blog and/or “like” my poems. There are some really talented people out there.

A Young Girl’s Dreams (#poem)

A young girl dreams at ten or eleven
Of riches and fame, singing on stage
Elvis matinees and Beatlemania she starts writing songs of her own
She can see it now who she wants to be when fully grown

A young girl dreams at sweet sixteen strolling the streets in the city
A storefront window peeks her interest as she catches a glimpse in the mirror
The cradle beckons offering an inkling of what might become her future
Laughter, Love, a handsome man, a happily ever after

Looking back she wonders how she veered off track
Was it a lack of choice, the choices she made, or just circumstance
Whatever it was doesn’t matter now cuz there’s no going back
It wasn’t meant to be anyhow, not the dance she was meant to dance

So she picks up a guitar, a keyboard not far and she starts writing songs
Some dreams disappear and others appear
Revealing which were right and which were wrong
Following her heart all along

Mothers & Daughters (#poem)

Mothers and daughters can love and can hate
The relationship can change from age to age
Some things remain the same and this is what the world knows
But only those in the know can know and this really blows

To be so close yet never know them at all
The facade they show their mother and at the Kingdom Hall
Years later a clue leads you to truth you resist
Nothing makes sense until you see through the Narcissist

These daughters of these mothers are their own special breed
For most of their life they’ve been down on one knee
Until this moment when they seize the day
Leaving behind chaos and walking away

California Screaming (#poem)

Tom Petty sings about it, where life is messy
A world without dads and cold spaghetti
The California dream has its limitations
In a land of make believe and illusions

They looked at me with awe and envy
I couldn’t complain, every day was Thanksgiving
Seen through their eyes beyond their reach
Me living a perfect life at the beach

It came as a surprise when I realized
My dad was not my dad but a dad in disguise
I had to smile and hide my real feelings
Wondering about my “real” dad and if I had other siblings

Years later I found him with other children
They didn’t want to know me for I had been hidden
Don’t believe what they say when you’re California dreaming
You might just end up California screaming

Attention (#poem)

The world demands attention

Attention-craving kitties howling in the night
Politicians tweeting, people protesting from left to right
Society, media, and churches massing us together
Like numbers and sameness are all what really matter

Give me back the days when individuals were respected
Of solitude and attitude and being loosely connected
No need to prove your usefulness and drive
Your worthiness is measured by just being alive

The world loves attention

Insisting that reality is more real than poetry
Books, music, and praying the Rosary
If you call what’s on the news or sold on television
A more worthwhile contribution

She said it about her pretty sister
About her many kids and misters
She said it with derision
You never wanted to hear her say, “She did it for attention.”

Once Upon a Time (#poem)

Once upon a time wisdom wore pearls
Women wore red, pink was for little girls
The world has forgotten what used to be
I heard it in a song, don’t listen to me

I saw it on TV, the wedding in pink
I knew what I would write about, I didn’t have to think
I remembered the apple dress trimmed in blue
And wearing those shiny, candy apple red shoes

So I wrote my novel on a Florida Lanai
I binged on Hawaiian Tropic and a Jimmy Buffet high
I cruised the Caribbean with women of 3 generations
And each of them came to the same conclusion

I finished the book, sent it off to an agent
She offered representation, said my writing was poetic
She kept the title knowing without being said
Women wear many colors, but real women wear red

California Girl, Kentucky Boy (#poem)

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 the 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?