Down For the Count

…but not to 10 yet.

I have already written about it here. Now I have captured it in a song. When my cowriters have writing sessions, we check in with each other. When we ask, “How are you?” or “What’s going on with you?”, we are not being polite. We care about each other and want to know. Sometimes the song has nothing to do with our answers, but sometimes the honesty of those talks fuels passion into the song. Those songs are different. They are not written around a hook or idea one of us comes in with. They are written from raw emotions. I am not saying they are better songs, but I am saying I love them more.

Two cowriters and I wrote such a song this week. I am not calling names or going into details because those talks are the kind you have with someone you trust. We wrote about struggling with keeping passion and enthusiasm for a dream or an endeavor begun wiith high hopes and energy. With dreams and projects, it is true the bigger they are the harder they fall. We wrote about hearing the count. At that point, we have to make decisions. Is it worth the fight? Will our life be better with it or without it? Do we give up or get up?

In our song, the singer wonders if she has anything left to give. She has searched her heart. She does not know which way to go. As often is in true life, although the answer is within, something from outside gives hope. She knows she will live to fight another day.

The song is not about boxing. It is about living. The song? Red Bird.

Buddy

My Songs

I have updated – Stephanie C Brown Songs – I hope you enjoy some of the songs.

Through it all, I write. Through songs, I process the world as I see it and feel it. I believe in the power of words and that that power is amplified with music. Sometimes I am given words. That is hard to explain. We call it writing the song in the room. My hope is always that we write a song that is true and universal. There does not have to be a lesson or even a comment. If our words and melodies move you in body or soul or both, as songwriters we have done our job. Writing a song that expresses for someone who does not have the words for what they feel is the ultimate for me.

I am still feeling the unrest in my country and have no words about that. For tonight’s post, I took songs off the song page and added more. They are all demos, rough takes, or a simple songwriters’ demos. All are published in River and Stones Music (ASCAP) and my cowriters’ publishing companies.

Please, go to the song page. You can find it on the menu. I hope one or more of the songs moves you in some way.

Now

Now – by Stephanie C Brown

This is no fine line
drawn in the sand.
This is chiseled
in concrete
filled with tar
painted black.

Rage skyrocketing
fueled by hate.
Love staying afloat
on a raft of hope.

The weight of the world
weighing heavy.
Is there a heart
light as a feather?

Some Days – for the Birds

I am thankful all my days are not the same. Mark Narmore and I wrote a song around that idea. It is not about birds, but this entry is. Thanks to Mark for his great demo of Most Days. I hope you enjoy the song and the photos of today’s birds.

Most Days – Are Not -written by Mark Narmore (Nobel Vision ) and Stephanie C Brown (River and Stones Music _Ascap)

I am feeling the unrest in my country so am having a difficult time settling down to do anything productive. Thank heavens, today was a day for the birds. I put out black-oil sunflower seeds on my deck every morning for the birds. My camera stays on the coffee table right in front of an easy chair. Today some came. I have chosen to post only the ones of Red-brested Woodpecker and American Goldfinch

The day could have been for many things. Today it was for the birds.

American Goldfinch – Florence, Alabama – my deck – January 9, 2021 (I can not travel in time so ignore the date on the photos. I need to reset my camera.)

Red-breasted Woodpecker – Florence, Alabama – my yard – January 9, 2012

Today has been a good day.

The Cardinals on My Deck

A Cardinal’s Wings

The cardinals on my deck
know nothing
of riots and protests.
Their’s is a world
of trees, rivers and streams.
The sun rises, the moon sets.
Winds blow, rain falls.
In storms, floods, and hurricanes
They seek shelter.
The beating of their wings
can not save them.

(Stephanie C Brown – January 7, 2021)

Blue Ocean Glass

I am sole owner and founder of Blue Ocean Glass which handles publishing, management, and promotion for songwriters and artists who need my help. The company will also do event planning for others. I needed a business structure around what I do anyway. I have a Nashville history as a publisher, a manager, and an advisor and early supporter. Garth Brooks credits me. When he came to Nashville, I believed in him and did everything I could to help him. I introduced him to his manager Bob Doyle. I read his first contracts. I told people he would be bigger than Elvis. I was laughed at, but no one is laughing now. I do not think I have found another Garth, but I am finding songwriters and artists who need guidance from someone who has their best interests at heart. Through the years, I have helped others. Blue Ocean Glass will do what I already do.

So far Taylor Grace Longcrier and Jeff Broadfoot are under Blue Ocean Glass’ wings. When it is safe to be out again, Blue Ocean Glass will host a live showcase or two. The first one will probably be a Soup and Song event at my house. The next will be in a listening room situation. First, I will introduce them with a online showcase hosted on stephaniecbrown.com.

This is Wednesday’s scheduled blog post, but Blue Ocean Glass deserves a well thought out and well written post with links to Taylor and Jeff. Stay tuned. Check back in. I will add to this post.

Optimistic about 2021?

I believe positive thoughts bring about positive results, but I admit to struggling with optimistic. How about you? Are you celebrating the new year with your usually gusto? I stayed up until midnight; I cooked black-eyed peas; I did not have that confident looking foward to the new year feeling. I did not plan writing sessions and gatherings for later when I have been vacinated. What if that does not happen? What if there is another pandemic? I told you, I am struggling with optimisim.

Morning is the best writing time for me. During my strict issolation, because I live alone, I am struggling with any kind of a routine. Watching TV to the early morning hours has numbed me some what to the crisis of 2020. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully’s drama and trauma made mine seem small. Maybe 2020 was an X-file? Immersing myself in Doctor Who’s multi-universe world took me out of mine. Maybe 2021 wilI be a new world? I made a New Year’s Resolution to be in bed by 11:00 and up by 8:00. Day two into 2021 and have not kept it yet. As motivation I am reminding myself that I need the routine going before I actually need it. I will be going places and people will be in my house, right? My house needs to be somewhat clean and uncluttered for in person cowriting sessions, Soup and Song gatherings, and just-because-we-can parties, right? I will have a schedule to balance, right? A reason to go to bed early and get up early?

I have downloaded multiple diaries, journals, and planners. I will let you know which ones help me keep track of my busy days and plan the next ones.. I hung the calendar my daughter gave me. After all, a productive person needs those, right? For now I am keeping a sembalance of productivity by scheduling two or three songwriting sessions a week. I thank cowriters for the therapy. At times, we feel like we are writing in a vacuum with no live demos and little live sharing of the songs. Soon we will all be in the studio together demoing our songs. My cowriters will be sharing the songs on a stage – live and not as in live online. I will go our to listen to live music. I will visit friends. I will travel a bit. I have to believe so. I am trying to get past questioning those.

Bring it on!

I renewed my resolution to continue write meaningful blog entries on Wednesdays and Saturdays and to go deeper into the mechanics of getting more followers and building a bigger email list. I renewed the resolution to write more words on the book every morning. These two will not be harder even though I will have less time to do so. We all know that is an illusion, right? I will have the same amount of time in each day. The dfference will be I will not be fighting enertia. The more geared up I am, the more I can get down which makes it seem like I have less time to do anyone thing. Hopefully, I will stay slowed down – somewhat.

Maybe 2021 will not only be a new year but also a new world for me. I do not want my 2019 or early 2020 world back. I want to bring the good from those into 2021. I want my 2021 world to be better. How can it not be with all I have learned.

Gathering Energy for 2021

This is the last post of the year. I need a small retreat to recharge and let go of 2020 to be open to 2021.

Cardinal Headshots

Buddy, my cardinal friend, was in fine form today. He is a handsome fella. I guess you can say a blanket or a coffee cup or some other beloved object is your friend, but really? I think to be friends both need to recognize each other. I recognize Buddy, and he recognizes me. He knows I put the seed in his saucer. He waits for me and flies a few feet away and then comes back when I back up a bit. To me, he is a friend.

Memories and Traditions

Memories of my very early Christmases are good ones. I am from a large family with fourteen aunts or uncles who married. Then the wives and husbands were part of the family. Twelve of those had children of their own. Thirteen of those did not move from our hometown. The ones who had moved came home came home for Christmas. Think about the complexity of that.

Christmas on my mother’s side was paramont even though that was the side with the most sibling rivalry and disagreements. As a young child I had no idea of the back stories. I do remember arguments, but they did not involve the children. We were caught up in the traditions. My aunt and uncle from Florida brought fireworks, oranges, and grapefuit. When are we going to do fireworks? How many times did the grown-ups hear that question? I loved the sparklers much more than the firecrackers. We opened gifts on Christmas Eve with a set time to “have the tree” which meant open gifts. All gifts were exchanged and Santa came on Christmas Eve. The reason given for that never made sense to me, even as a child. My grandfather was afraid one of his children would die in the night and not get their gifts. Think about that. Everyone gave everyone a gift, or that is how I remember it. We did not draw names or sit in a circle for dirty Santa. Are those expressions only American and southern? If you do not know what they mean, ask in a comment. I do not remember those gifts, but I do remember the anticipation.

Every one showing up at my grandparents house for Christmas dinner was mandantory. There was an oak pedestal table with many extensions for the grown-ups and card tables for the children. My daugher now has that oak petalsal and, yes, it carries memories. You did not move to the grown-up table until you married. My grandmother was a saint. She must have been tired cooking for twenty-six people, if I am counting right, and smoothing all the ruggled feathers. When did she have time to bake the coconut cakes and pecan pies? I am sure the adults’ memories of those christmases are not the same as the children’s. My older brother’s and sister’s memories are not the same as mine.

Christmas is held in the hands of grandmothers. At least, it was in mine. The passing of a grandmother changes everything. Christmas caDo not worry about presents; be present.n never be the same again no matter how much you want it to be. The harder you try, the emptier it feels. My mother wanted Christmas to be like it was when her children were grandchildren. It did not work for her or her children, but it did for her grandchildren. I envy families with smooth transitons from one generation to the next.

This year hang on to the traditons that bring comfort and let go of the ones that hurt or are stressssful. Next year when we can return to Christmas together, do the same. No matter how you wish for a different Christmas, all you have is this Christmas. Love your family and friends more than any tradition your family has or is trying to hold on to. When your family can be together, do not worry about meals; treasure breaking bread together. Do not worry about presents; be present.

Merry Christmas to all and a happy new year.

Share your thoughts on Christmas. Someone else’s blog is a good place to process.

December 16th Birds

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in today’s world I do not think so. Photos are so easily altered. Seeing is no longer believing. I promise these bird photos that I took sitting in an armchair in the room off my deck have not been altered in any way (Florence, Alabama). I feed birds regularly. One cardinal named Buddy waits on the rail in the mornings. He hears me when I get up and I hear hiim. He still keeps about three feet between us, but the others fly to the tree until I am back in the house. I have feeders in the yard, but the rail ones are more active. Forgive the mess. I am not as good at keeping their feeding area clean as I should be. I call taking photos of birds one of my Zen things. I think of nothing else. I did not know how beautiful birds are until I started photographing them. The feathers, oh, the feathers. See for yourself. Did you realize how amazing bird feathers are?

A Christmas Song and More for You

Noel No You — (River and Stones Music, ASCAP and cowriters’ publishing) – I need to check writers in addtion to Sandy Carroll, Mitch Mann, Jim Gaines, and Stephanie C Brown)

Since I am in song mode, I will share three more. To listen to even more, go to Stephanie C Brown Songs (on the menu)

If Salvation Had a Color – ( Stephanie C Brown, Mark Narmore, Lillian Glanton – River and Stones, ASCAP and cowriters’ publishers)
Little Diamonds – (Stephanie C Brown, Sandy Carroll, Mark Narmore – River and Stones Music, ASCAP and cowrtiers’ – publishers)
We Will Dance (Stephanie C Brown, Mark Narmore, Sandy Carroll – River and Stones Music ASCAP and cowriters’ publishers) – I need to check for another cowriter)

I write a lot with six different cowriters in different combinations. I wrote ten songs in November. Someone has admin for River and Stones Music, so there is a record of cowriters. I could check but did not this morning.

I hope you enjoy listening. I am not always so melancholy. Just listen to Lumber of the Beast if you do not believe me!

Lumber of the Beast – Stephanie C Brown, Mark Narmore, Mitch Mann

Please leave a comment or email to let me know! If you liked one more than the rest, let me know that, too.

To Christmas or Not to Christmas

Christmas 2020. Different than any we have had. How many families won’t be together?

My house has been the family Christmas house since Mother passed. I am decorating this year not sure if anyone will be inside my house. The past few years I have had help putting the tree up and decorating it. Someone else put up outside lights This year I am doing it all, not as organized and detailed as usual.

I am so aware this year that Christmas is not about decorating or baking. It is about family and friends.

PS: Tonight I have been unpacking boxes of decorations. I will be putting more ornaments than I planned. Christmas may not be about decorating and baking, but would it be Christmas without them?

PS – again!Well, I guess if I am going to put most of my ornaments on, I will put another string or two of lights first.

Ps- yet again! Every tree needs 200 more lights, right?

Watching a Guru Grow

Gurus are people to be watched in more ways than ones. We are not talking about the ones who convince you to give away all your earthly possessions, join a commune, and drink the kool-aide.We are talking about the ones with books, web pages, blogs, newsletters, webinars, podcasts, conferences, and other avenues to reach the masses. I follow several online. I have paid money for their classes, conferences, and webinars. I do not regret even one of them. Though I would not admit to following a guru, I have certainly been led.

I am watching (and following) one guru that I admire more than when I first connected with him. He has written best sellers, been a speaker at many conferences, has online courses with hundreds in some classes, has successful webinars, and more. He has a passion for sharing the methods that have worked for him. His authenticity is what has made him so well-known and influential. Thanks to his webinars and courses, I started this blog and my memoir. Without him, the blog would not be as good or have the potential to do online what I do and have done for others in true life. I have adapted some of what I have learned even though his methods are tried and true. What I am learning is focused on how to make money to pay for making art.

I think I started following him and taking his courses early in his transformation (that may be an exaggerated word). I sensed a slight uneasiness in a webinar and a shift in his newsletters. I wondered what he was going though. Then he began to write more authentically about his personal journey instead of his past or present success. He revamped his blog, or is in the process. He is developing new groups and courses. He recently wrote about what I would call a spiritual, not as in religion, retreat he more than attended; he was with his tribe learning from and supporting each other. That is a beautiful thing.

I look forward to new courses and webinars. I see no need to discontinue any of the old. They are valid. I expect and hope he will continue to share the money making part because I sure need that. Creative people tend to give everything away.

My hats off to you, Jeff Goins. I am still following you. Thank you for sharing not only what you have done and are doing but also your personal journey. Gurus who are fellow travelers are the best.

Energy Flow

Ever wonder how it would feel to be in someone else’s skin, to feel what they feel? I wish I could be in what I call a “normal” person’s skin. If you have read previous posts, you know I struggle with bipolar disorder and at times feel anything but normal even though I know there is no normal. Identifying what is a symptom of bipolar disorder and what is simiply human nature is hard. When I am struggling, the distinction does not matter to me. I write about bipolar disorder during the worst of times or when I am coming out of a hard time. I write because I know that others who have bopolar disorder will to some extent recognize themselves. Always I hope that my story will help in some way. Perhaps someone will decide to get professional help. Perhaps someone will not give up.

I have been struggling with shutdown for weeks. The one thing I am able to do even in difficult times is write songs with my cowriters. This time I kept up with Wednesday and Saturday blog posts. Other than that I have been what I call operating on top of and maintaining. I am not sure others see the difference. I suspect they do. If you have been reading this blog, you know the story – up to yesterday.

Yesterday I cleaned house. This morning I woke up wanting to write before I did anything else. Those two things do not sound all that dramatic, but in context they are. I wish I knew why my energy shifted so I would know what to do next time to get myself up and going. I am not saying anything as dramatic as I got up feeling like a light had been switched on. I will say I felt different, lighter. Perhaps this morning’s energy was because I finally managed to get my house in order and at least surface clean. To me the two are related with both a result of shifting energy.

I have no way of knowing how long this good energy will last. I do know I will enjoy it while I have it. I am writing this as Wednesday’s scheduled post and posting it early. In the morning, I have a Zoom songwriting session. After that I look forward to working on my book. Before I go to bed tomorrow night, I expect to do some basic clutter control. I will be doing more than just operating on top of. I will be comfortable in my own skin.

I expect I will have a good day. I will let you know how it goes.

I Thought I could Not – Then I Did

Is there something you want done but are sure you can not do? You might be surprised if you decided to do it yourself. I have been many times. When I was forty, I was sure I could not buy a Christmas tree, unload it, saw off the bottom, bring it into the house, and get it into a stand relatively straight. Tonight at seventy-five, I did all the above. I am not advocating you become self-reliant – just do not be quick to think you can not do what you want. Perhaps you can not, but perhaps you can.

It is no wonder I did not realize all the things I can do. I have a sister three years older than I and a brother a year and a half older. Of course, they could do more things than I could because they were older, but I did not consider that when I was growing up. I just thought I could not do anything. My mother was impatient and often told me to just get out of the way and she would do it. Then at eighteen I married a man who did everything.

In the twenty-five years I have been alone, I have done many things I thought I could not. Some were out of stubborness. My ex-husband is a pipefitter. When I needed a new faucet I was determined to do it myself without his help. I accomplished it with the help of a very kind plumber who answered his phone late in the evening and talked me though it. Some were because I did not have the money to hire it done. My brother believed in my abilities before I did. Often when I had no money to hire help, he convinced me I could do it myself. He has talked me through many DYI projects.The more I did, the more confidence I gained.

I no longer think of myself as someone who always needs help. Before I say I can not do something, I think it through. I do not just assume I can not. Now because I am older and not as broke, I usually call someone, even for some projects I know I can do. I have learned to ask myself even if I could, why would I. The things I did tonight I did because I am self-isolated so did not want anyone else in my house. I feel good knowing instead of agonizing over how I would get a tree up, I just did it.

If this inspires you, use some common sense. Do not try to do things physically harder than you can handle. The importatnt thing is do not let voices from the past or present limit you.

Disclaimer: I do not always use common sense. Do not try this at home.

If Struggle I Must

Struggle I will. Being dramatic helps me during hard bipolar times like now. So if struggle I must, struggle I will. I laugh and say I am the poster child for  bipolar disorder. Twenty-five years after being diagnosed, I faithfully take meds, sleep, and eat. I am healthy; I am happy; I have a good life. I am  too old to be a poster child but old enough to be a voice. Each person’s journey is different. One thing we all share is we struggle. Others either think we could help ourselves if we tried, or that they can help us. Both have a bit of truth. 

I share my journey because bipolar disorder is still an awkward discussion. Some people are not informed at all; some are misinformed. That is not the main reason I share. I share not as a poster child but as an example of one who has bipolar disorder and a good life. I want people to know that is possible. I share for the ones who are affected. That includes the ones who have bipolar disorder and the ones who love them. I share my struggle so bipolar disorder will not be minimized.

Last month I was on a natural high of beginning this blog and beginning a book. I was getting up early and going to bed early. I had energy. I felt good.I Zoomed two or three times a week with my cowriters. My input was creative. I thought all the songs were wonderful.

This month, not so much. I will share a journal entry. My handwriting is better on good days

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I do not want to go to bed at night. I do not want to to get up in the morning. I know I can breath, but it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. I work my strategies. I make myself get up. I make sure I take my meds, that I eat, that I sleep enough. I go outside some every day. I journal. I work in the yard. I am still Zooming. In fact, when I am with people, I seem fine. Some days my best strategy is to be still. I consider that I am maintaining. I am not too low or too high. I am operating on top of. I will keep eating, sleeping, taking meds and working every strategy I can. The overwhelming clutter in my house as I sit still is another part of the struggle as is feeling incredibly sad like I am hurting for the whole world. I told you – thinking dramatically is part of it, too. This is not too extreme. Mostly I am frustrated. Coming back to low energy after a long period of positive, productive energy is discouraging. I know a slump is not failure, but it feels like it is.

One morning I will wake up feeling like a burden has been lifted. I will be okay. did not know that years ago. If you have bipolar disorder and do not have that assurance, get professional help. Even if you do have that assurance, get professional help. Your friends can not help you. You can not help yourself by yourself. If someone you love has bipolar disorder, do not tell them they could do better if they tried. Do not think you can be their savior. Help them get professional help. See them as a person not as a bipolar person. Forgive them for the mistakes they have made. If they are bipolar, I can almost promise you they have done things that hurt them and/or others. Love them. My family and friends love and accept me. They are my safety net. We all need one.

If you read this and worry about me, don’t. Trust me like I trust myself. If you do not know me, think of my other posts. If you know me, look at my life.

Please, educate yourself. Go to http://Bipolar disorder – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Digging for Spring Beauty

This is how my flower beds begin and how they are reclaimed. I dig on my hands and knees. I do this for several reasons. I can not afford to hire it done. Even if I could afford it, finding someone who will do what I do is hard. This is definitely not work for a landscaper. The main reason I do my own digging is I love it. Beginning with nothing but weeds or heavy unwanted grass and ending with patches of bright flowers is reward enough. I have claimed and then reclaimed enough small spots to know how much impact they can have.

This spot has been difficult because monkey grass was taking over. Nurseries sell it. Many love it. I come close to hating it. It will crowd out everything else. This area had dahlias and gladiolus in the past. I have dug sacks and boxes of monkey grass from this and one other small area.

People pay good money for monkey grass aka as Liriope. The article below heralds it as a great ground cover and border plant. I would pay someone to dig up every clump in my yard – or my neighbors’. Look at those roots!

All the digging will be worth it in the spring and summer when the dahlias, glads, and maybe even hollyhocks are blooming.

Let others sing its praises, and they do. Perhaps it works well in landscaped yards that are well maintained. It has overtaken flower beds and even portions of my yard. If you want any, let me know for I will be perpetually digging. The good news is my daughter wants some to replace the area she got rid of on my advice. She misses it. Her yard was one of my first Master Gardener projects. It was a total fail.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/groundcover/monkey-grass/monkey-grass-a-spectacular-groundcover-for-the-lawn.htm

Looking for a low growing, drought tolerant turf replacement? Try growing monkey grass. What is monkey grass? Rather confusingly, monkey grass is actually the common name for two different species. Yes, things could get a little muddled here, so keep reading to learn about the different types of monkey grass and how to use monkey grass in the landscape. What is Monkey Grass? Monkey grass is a groundcover that looks very similar to turf grass. It is the common name for liriope (Liriope muscari), but it is also referred to as border grass. In addition, monkey grass is oftentimes used as the common name for a similar plant, dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus). Are Liriope and monkey grass the same? In so far as ‘monkey grass’ is often the terminology used for liriope, then yes, which is confusing since mondo grass is also called ‘monkey grass’ and yet liriope and mondo grass are not the same at all. In fact, they aren’t even grasses. Both are members of the Lily family.

Read more at Gardening Know How: What Is Monkey Grass: Caring For Money Grass In Lawns And Gardens https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/groundcover/monkey-grass/monkey-grass-a-spectacular-groundcover-for-the-lawn.htm

November Roses

My yard – Florence, Alabama – November 2020

Stephanie C Brown Songs

I updated my song page – https://stephaniecbrown.com/stephanie-c-brown-songs. I took down songs that were there and added different ones.

Through all my ups and downs, changes and standstills, one thing I do remains constant. I write songs with my cowriters. We Zoom write anywhere from once to three times a week. Before Covid19, we wrote at my house two to four times a week. I have lost count of how many songs I have written since 1975. I started in Muscle Shoals, moved to Nashville, and then returned home. I had some success as a songwriter in Nashville including cowriting “Burning Bridges” which is on Garth Brooks’ Ropin’ the Wind album. The songs I love best are not necessary the most commercial ones. In fact, they seldom are. I jokingly say that a song is probably commercial because I do not particularly like it.

I cowrite with several cowriters regularly – Mark Narmore, CoCo O’Conner, Sandy Carroll, Will McFarlane, Mitch Mann, Cindy Richardson Walker, Grant Walden, Alecia Elliott Fisher, andTaylor Grace Longcrier. I am the pimp. I keep everyone booked in one combination. I get available dates from everyone to see who can write on the same days. Then I let everyone know who is writing with whom when. Sometimes I write with only one other person, but if more than one other is available, I might write with two or three others. I have written with as many as four! During Covid19, not only do I write simply because that is what I do but also because Zoom sessions with my cowriters are social interaction, too. We know each other so well, our sessions are personal. All of our songs are not all from my or my cowriters’ experiences, but they all were the song in the room.

Please, listen to some of the songs, and let me know if you have favorites. John Prine once told me I was the most important person sitting in a song circle because I was the audience. As a creative person, I need an audience. I may fear it, but I need it.

Listen to the last one for something totally different and probably unexpected. All of these songs are available with clearance.

Tinder Box

I am an American who cares about America. I do not see how I could write a blog post today that did not in some way touch on today’s election results. Joe Biden is president elect. Although almost half of America are not happy about that, I am. Some will not even acknowledge it. I am keenly aware that I am a miniority in Alabama, my state. Barely one-fourth of Alabamians voted for Biden.

I feel like we are in a tinder box. I do not want to contribute to any negative conversations that could ignite a fire. Already I have asked to be dropped from one text group boasting about “our” win and making derogatory remarks about Trump supporters. I am sure I am going to read a lot of derogartory remarks about Biden supporters like me. I am going to be disappointed in some of my friends on both sides. Already there is violence in the streets.

While writing this, someone called to congratulate me because they were sure we are on the same side. In fact, we are. I loved that. We had never discussed the election, but she knows me, so she knew. I am not against talking about the election results with people who are positive. In fact, I need that. I want everyone to know where I stand. Although I am a minority in my home town, my state, and the states around me, I will be active in working with people who believe as I do that Biden is our best choice.

Already I am hearing and seeing so much I disagree with, but I have high and lofty goals. I hope I will walk away from inflamatory conversations on social media and even in person. I am not Ghandi or Mother Teresa, but I want peace.

Years from now I will look back on this blog and be proud I made a stand,

Life well-lived Update

Have you been following my blog long enough to remember I am writing a book? The original concept was to pull from my and six Muscle Shoals seasoned cowriters experiences to support the title, A Life Well-lived Is Better Than a Song Well-written. I completed an outline. I did the first taped interview of four of the six other songwriters. I started writing. I decided to start with what I thought would be easiest or at least necessary. Since I am one of the seven and the author, my songwriting background needs to be included, right? I thought maybe 1,000 words would be a sufficient summary. Not so.

Recounting my story as a songwriter for forty plus years has taken on a life of its own. I started the saga in 1975 after a few words about before then. I am remembering names, places, and details of experiences I had not thought of in years. Some I do not think I would have ever remembered, at least not in detail. Some I am having to research. I am just now to the moving to Nashville part.

I plan to go with my flow and publish my story as an ebook available on this blog. It will have links to song downloads, interviews, and lyric pages. Who knows? Maybe it will have a link to a free webinar or live Zoom or two?? Then I will write the book I started writing.

Stay tuned. You will be the first to know.

Bipolar Disorder – a Blessing and a Curse

Edited with correct link: 3:36 PM 10/24/2020

I have been struggling with writing this post about the blessing and the curse of having bipolar disorder for over two hours. I have written and deleted, written and deleted. Then I googled and found all of my search words in Inga Stünzner‘s Bipolar disorder ‘a blessing and a curse’: How Ian Higgins sees life through a creative lens. This article is everything I was trying to write. If you want a better understanding of a person with bipolar disorder, read it. If you have bipolar disorder, read it. If someone one you know has bipolar disorder, read it. Please, for me, read it.

Perhaps later I will edit and add more of my own words, but for now someone else’s words say it all.

Circles

Indian medicine wheels, Stonehenge, cave drawings, the wheel – when has there not been circles? My own life has come full circle in so many ways. I have named several companies, groups, and events with circle in the name: Circle of Friends, Song Circle, Circle Round.

All humans had to do was look at flowers to know about circles.

Late Bloomers

MAXIMILIAN Sunflower, New England Aster, Plains Coreopsis, Zinnias, and Cosmos ( My yard – North Alabama)

A Life Well-lived

Do you have a past history of beginning projects you do not finish? I do. Twenty-four days ago, I began the journey of writing my book A Life-well Lived. I have begun and am past the beginning. It is getting to the middle that will be hard. I have promised myself I will write at least five-hundred words a day. For me, the word count is easy; every day is not. Last night at eleven-thirty, I realized I had not written. I managed five-hundred words in thirty minutes.

Sudden stops are not my problem with projects I still believe in. The first two weeks I wrote at the scheduled morning time. Then one day, something happened that I needed to do during that time. Gradually I shifted writing time to whenever I was not doing something else. Remembering at eleven-thirty last night should not have surprised me.

My Life-Well Lived cup arrived in the mail today. Now every morning I will be reminded. An object I can see and touch is vital for me to acheive a long range goal. When I began Golden Ladder and Silver Cradle, my Nashville publishing companies, the first thing I did was pay for someone to design a logo for me. I had cassette labels and inserts, stationery, note cards, and business cards. Those companies exsited for me long before that did for anyone else although others believed in them quicker than they would have without seeing that logo. One Fan Fair a record label assistant called to ask how many passes I needed. At that time Golden Ladder and Silver Cradle were just me. I had created them in others’ minds.

This week someone sent me a text asking how I developed this blog. She is still in the maybe-vision stage. She does not want to begin something she may not carry through with. My advise to her was not to linger too long in the planning stage, to do something concrete. I suggested she get a free WordPress blog, select a free theme, and build the blog. She does not have to actually post until she makes up her mind. She may decide she does not want to invest her time in blogging or that now is not the time. Building the blog does not take the place of planning; it brings the vision into reality.

Stop and think of past projects you have abandoned. Do not worry about the ones in which you no longer have interest. The ones you wish you had completed, start again. Look for something you can see, hear, or touch that will remind you.

I did not order enough cups to give to others, but maybe I will. For now, I am the only one to pour coffee into that cup, already well-loved, and think of A Life-well Lived.

If anyone does want to pay $25 for a cup, let me know.

Video Chat with Sandy Carroll

The book I am writing has a core cast of seven, six of my cowriters and me. I am in the process of Zooming short video chats with each to make my job easier. I can refer back to them when I am writing. This morning’s with Sandy was great – once we got past the first five minutes. We are so relaxed that seconds after telling her I was going to begin the recording, I drifted off into definitely woman to woman “girl” talk. Her feedback helped me, but it is not something I want to share with the world. I did trim those first four minutes. The next minute I have wandered off and am talking to Sandy off-camera. I left it because I laughed and hope someone else does. We can all always use a laugh.

The chats are more about Muscle Shoals than I expected. Sandy has memories of Muscle Shoals in the years I was teaching and out of music that I do not have. From 1997 to 2001, Jerry McGee and Mickey Buckins hosted a weekly writers night at the local Holiday Inn in Sheffield. I am realizing that Muscle Shoals songwriting history is not as well known as the recording history. Also, as good of friends as we are, I did not know her life story before we met. These chats are unearthing some unexpected treasures.

I hope you enjoy the video as much as we enjoyed talking. You may want to fast forward past that first minute or so – unless you want to hear two friends randomly talking.

Sandy Carroll and Stephanie C Brown chat about life, songwriting, and Muscle Shoals

Mark Narmore and Stephanie C Brown on life, Songwriting, and Muscle Shoals

Mark Narmore and I chatted this morning since he is one of the seven characters in the book I am writing. Mark is one of my cowriters, but I did not know some of what he shared.

(I was not in a rocking chair though it looks as if I were. Learning curve. I knew I would talk with my hands.)

Now

All things in good time is one of my mottos. Now is the good time for me to write a book. I am in self-isolation so have never had more time or focus.

I have been writing ever since I can remember. In the first grade I wrote a story about a goat driving a car and smoking cigarettes. In the seventh grade, I sent a handwritten short story to a major magazine that I am pretty sure did not recieve many handwritten manuscripts not following guidelines. Someone took the time to send a polite rejection letter. I wish I had saved that. Writers seldom throw anything away unless in a state of frustration or temper because the writing is not as good as they want it to be. I still have the story in some box somewhere.

For the last forty-five years, I have been either a teacher or a songwriter. I never could balance the two so bounced back and forth. I am now and have been a songwriter more years than a teacher. I have written hundreds of songs, many journal pages, and a book in that time. The book I did not throw away but have been tempted. I still think the story is good and may write it someday, but the writing itself is not good to the point of bad. Friends who read it had a hard time finding anything to say. I sent it to three publishers, got rejection letters, reread it, and put my copy in a closet.

I retired from teaching and transitioned into songwriting. At seventy-five I am in transition again. I am proud of my age and my life, but there’s something more yet to come. I always know it when I am in transition but seldom know to what. Still writing songs is part of it. Sharing my life with this blog and interviews is part of it. Those I have been doing. The new part is writing books. I no longer feel I am in transiton.

I am still floundering a bit on my book, so I asked my Facebook friends to tell me what they think I should write about. Their suggestions helped me; now I know what I do not want the book to be. The suggestions were to write about my experiences. My kneejerk response to each was no! I do not what to spend months on a book about me. What they want to know will be in this blog. There’s a whole world out there with many conversations. As a writer, I do not want to be wrapped up in me. I want to be more than the sum of my past.

One of the facebook responses, sealed the deal for me. I am a writer. A friend questioned why I would spend that much time (three months) writing a book – what would it accomplish in the end? My response was because I am a writer.

This is my declaration of independence though I did not know it when I sat down to write.

Thank you for being part of my journey.

 

Songs And A Blog, What’s Next?

Have you ever been at a stage in your life when you knew you needed to take action. You did not want to stay stuck. You wanted to find something that would propel you. I have been there and found what works for me.

I have immersed myself in writing. First, I enrolled in Jeff Goins’ Intentional Blog course which is not free. That’s an important point for me. If I have paid for something, I am motivated. Then I attended the virtual WordPress Summit 2020, again, not free. In addition, I have taken advantage of several other free Jeff Goins webinars and e-books as well as other WordPress webinars.

My answer came from a friend who told me I should take the Intentional Blog course. I took her at her word. Only after I enrolled and another friend was so impressed, did I research and realize what a good decision I made by trusting her and taking her advise. I am impressed. Jeff who is the writer of five bestselling books shares his journey and helps others on theirs. You can take my word about Jeff or go to https://goinswriter.com/.

I now have the nuts and bolts to build this blog and to write a book, but as of now they are rattling around in my mind bumping into each other. It is time for me to sort through, organize, and structure not only my writing but also my life. The first leads to the second.

I am a seventy-five year-old woman still journeying through life, a catalyst for others, an avid flower grower and birdwatcher, a quilter, a Muscle Shoals songwriter, a retired educator, and more. Sharing that in words and songs does not come easy. I write songs; I blog. What’s next? A book. I am putting in the hours to do all three well.

You can help me commenting on my posts and emailing me. I am in physical isolation, but I need interaction.Please, go to the Contact page and follow me and/or subscribe to my email for a weekly email.

Thank you, Stephanie C Brown

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