It’s not what you think.
This is not a pitch for a blog about nursery rhymes or child prodigies.
It’s a tantrum, toddler style: I want to blog about songwriting.
At 50 years old, in adult years, I am long past the svelte figure of my teens, with no chance of rivaling Taylor Swift physically or vocally. Ah, but have I written a few lyrics and guitar licks that could rival hers, if not by placement on the billboard charts, then in quality recognized by the established local talent in my hometown? And according to my wonderfully biased producer of two of my independently recorded CDs? Yes, and yes.
Toddling Toward An Avocation
At 50 years old, in AARP years (they find you by mail when you’re still on the cusp of looking 49 in the rearview mirror), I am aging, but in songwriting years I am only three or four.
See, a toddler is usually associated with the “terrible twos,” but the dictionary defines one as “a young child,” or “one who toddles.” I fit all categories.
Admittedly, I wrote a handful of songs in college and shortly thereafter, but back then, my relationship with the guitar and my own voice was self-conscious, lacking confidence or identity. Until about four years ago, that is: when I toddled forth with a song about the disappointment in a friend who could not love me as I longed to be loved.
I played it for my best friend from high school, whom I see maybe once or twice a year. She is a connoisseur of film and songwriters and bands ranging from Janis Ian to the Kinks, and Cat Stevens to Jethro Tull. She said, “That’s good.” I believed her.
Friends Make the Songwriter
What came next was an open mic where strangers took me aside to say they liked the song, and the organizer befriended me.
Then more musician friends, an experience with a songwriter who helped me with a few chords on a song and then wanted to put his name on it, and the lovely, insistent support of the man who would become my producer, who said, “We need to record and copyright you.”
But like many a would-be rock star (OK: folk legend might be more apt) I am immersed in a full-time job that pays the mortgage. I am obsessed with a Weight Watchers journey in which I am stuck on a weight-loss plateau that is longer than the time I’ve spent dropping 29 pounds (you see what I mean about the missing sexy stage presence, but that’s another story). I am involved in time-consuming graduate studies. It keeps me from learning pentatonic scales. It keeps me from performing more. And it could very well keep me from this blog, but I am going to have my way. I have to have my way. I am still toddling and if I can’t fall and get back up, or saunter unexpectedly, I’ll never make it.
What Can A Toddler Possibly Have to Say about Songwriting?
What then, you ask, can I impart as a baby lyricist and composer kicking and screaming her way into the world of published music and promoted productions?
I will explore the road poet Robert Frost called “less traveled,” the road of a 50-something finding her musical voice, and of other artists developing late.
I will explore the amazing paths to glory that the Internet has paved, from writers who collaborate across geographical boundaries to uploading original, independently recorded music onto platforms provided by innovators like the makers of CDBaby.
I will explore my own foibles and successes, yearnings and regrets.
I will explore whatever you, the reader ask me to, in the quest to learn why songwriting calls to some of us in a voice only we can hear.
Let me out of the crib, where the nursery tunes are making me crazy and the lullabies are putting me to sleep. Let me into the recording studio, and the blogging arena, where I can sing a song for you, write a melody, birth a song you can keep and play over and over, a song that speaks your language, with words that cut your heart.