Mixing Up My Art

Many artists don’t confine themselves to a single medium. You may know that besides writing nine non-fiction books and working on my second, third, fourth, and fifth mysteries all at once (whew!) I’m also a songwriter.

Writing songs with lyrics that don’t rhyme, or lyrics that don’t make any sense; writing songs with short lines, long lines; story songs, message songs, love songs, pain songs — I’m far more confident playing with words in my fiction than I was before I invested 10 years learning the craft of songwriting.

tunehenge

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It’s Just a Song (Not an Autobiography)

Listening to David Gray while we made pancakes together I found myself wondering about some of the things he believes.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/951615 by ilco http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ilcoWhich makes no sense because I know writers of all kinds have their characters or the voice of their song saying or doing things that aren’t necessarily aligned with their core beliefs. While Web Martin and Jake Calcutta are more like me than they ought to be, I know I’ve written things in my songs that aren’t beliefs I put into practice every day. In fact, the more I allow myself to put words in my character’s mouths or express opinions in my songs which aren’t my own, the more depth and breadth my writing will take on and possibly the more I will understand people who think and feel and say those things.

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Look My Way: The Song That Confuses

Even the seasoned songwriters I shared this with when I wrote it 5½ years ago couldn’t come up with the mental image I thought was obvious.

Ah, language; so utterly inadequate sometimes.

After all this time I still haven’t decided if the title is Waiting or Look My Way. I’ll leave you to sort what you think it’s about.

You can listen to ‘Look My Way’ right here:

(guitar and lyrics by Joel D Canfield; vocal by Frances Riley; music by Joel D Canfield and Frances Riley)

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Why Poetry is Harder to Write Than Non-Fiction

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1336055 by Robert Linder http://www.sxc.hu/profile/linder6580All writing is art.

My father worked in Production Control for an electronics company. What that meant was that he was primarily responsible for whether the stuff that was made came out right. (Quality Control, where he started out, is about finding what’s wrong when Production Control fails.) No amount of training and oversight can supplant a good written procedure.

He wrote procedures he could send off from his office in Tijuana to techs in Boston and they could be followed blindly without modification.

That’s art.

Over the years I’ve settled into some assumptions about what kinds of writing are harder than others. (I do not warrant this information to be useful. I just hope it’s interesting.)
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