Bits and Pieces, Rants and Raves,
A Short Argument for Craft
“I want to write. I want to write. I want to write…” This phrase whispered to me from somewhere in my soul at a young age. It started with a love of “Story” and that is how, I believe, writing found me. I began reading and writing voraciously. It was raw-though it showed promise-with sloppy grammar, and bunny trails (tangents my English said). My excitement grew as I studied the craft in college as a journalism student. Though I could easily write very spare newsy or marketing pieces, my creative work started bloating with complicated sentences, intricate grammar, and verbiage resembling a rich person’s Good Will donations. Good stuff…but less and less accessible and emotive. For me, this was a necessary part of the process: saturate myself in the craft; tear apart the machine; and understand mechanics of writing. As a grad student, I am still mastering and honing! However, now the craft part of my writing is ingrained enough that I find it silently slips in and supports the story or song or emotion I want to capture. When I am moved by something and the words start to froth up, it is craft that shapes it without me trying TOO hard. I am less distracted in the midst of the creative process! As I embrace these creative moments, all I must do is step to the side and get out of the way of the flow. When the words find the right page to land on (song, story, free verse, whatever!), I let it settle for a bit and then the rewriting begins (more craft!). In my mind, it is much like polishing a rough diamond. No matter how great a diamond digger you are naturally or become, the nugget still must be polished to become a precious gift!
Consider the View
Sometimes songwriting is all about recovery
Getting on your feet
Pushing up to your tiptoes
And hoping for a better view
Of what happened
Or might happen
Or what happened a long time ago and something brought the memory rushing back.
It’s a refusal to punt when you find yourself holding the ball.