Welcome to your favorite weather channel, WWFK! It’s a beautiful summer morning in central Pennsylvania. Slight breeze. Temperatures starting in the low 70s and steadily rising. Humidity – a little high, but the big, white, puffy clouds against an absolute blue sky make easy to endure. I hope you’re faring well wherever you may be.
I’m feeling nostalgic today. I was thinking back to my high school days during the 70s. Every generation of high school kids has their own unique music as a backdrop to their lives. The uniqueness of the 70s centered on the singer/songwriter. Think James, Taylor, Paul Simon, Carol King, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, Jim Croce. The list goes on.
When I was eight, my father bought me my first guitar shortly after The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. It became my friend. I spent many hours practicing and playing my favorite songs. By the time I was 13, I had written my first song. It wasn’t good, but it was the first of many steps in my love for writing.
Then the 70s came. So many brilliant songwriters influenced me in those early years. I teamed up with a buddy to form a Simon and Garfunkel type duo. We followed the singer/songwriters of the day and performed songs by many of them. But the thing I most wanted was to write my own material. Gradually, we added original songs to the many covers we did. Eventually, we made the show almost all original.
Lately, I’ve been studying song writing again, and it has taken me back to my roots. I’ve learned that writing is writing, whether it be songs or fiction. Both need a hook. Without something to draw in your listener or reader, they will never listen or read without a hook. Both need a cohesive theme with each verse or chapter tugging at your audience to continue the journey. Both need compelling and believable characters.
One major difference between songwriting and fiction writing is most songs are written in the first person. You would be hard-pressed to find a song written in anything but the first person. Fiction is often written in the third person.
When writing a song or a fiction piece, the first person is more intimate. That’s only my opinion, but I think it to be true. With songs, you also have the added benefit of music which adds to the emotion of the story. Fiction calls for extra work to bring the emotion across.
Okay. So I could on and on, but that’s enough reliving in our eloquence, as singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg would say. Enjoy your week, and I’ll see you next week.