Month: August 2020
Wednesdays and Saturdays
Thank you, my eight followers for being with me from the beginnning. I am fourty-four posts in and getting a sense of what I want this blog to be and a plan for getting there.
What can you expect for now? Here’s the plan for now.
- New post on Wednesday and Saturday
- A photograph on Wednesday
- A newsletter once a week – if you subscribe to my e-mail list. I think now subscribers are getting updates everytime I add a new post, but I am working on changing that to no updates and just one newsletter a week.
I post about my life, past and present. I post about having bipolar disorder. I post about Muscle Shoals music, especially about my cowriters and friends. I live in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, actually in Florence, Alabama, but several adjoining small cities (towns?) are referred to as the Muscle Shoals area. Muscle Shoals music is recognized worldwide. I am part of the Muscle Shoals music community so have bragging rights.
Some featured content such as webinars, Zoom rooms, interviews, virtual music shows, a series of You Ask – I Answer videos, digital album downloads, and my cowriters’ albums and merch to order will come later. All in good time – that’s the time table.
I am often asked about my part in Garth Brooks’ success, how I got into Muscle Shoals music in the late seventies, my Nashville days, and my songwriting. The You Ask – I Answer video series is the most concise ways to answer questions. I am often asked about my songs – what do I write? Go to Featured Songs under Stephanie C Brown Songwriter and Catalyst for ten songs and decide for yourself. “Betty Jean” is like a signature song for me, so it is always on the sidebar.
You could help by going to my contact page and using the form to communicate with me. What questions do you?
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.
When someone tells me I do not look my age or act my age, I know they mean it as a compliment, but the statement frustrates me because I do look and act MY age. I may not fit their preconceived concept, stereotype, of a seventy-five year-old woman. Therein is the crux of the problem. Anyone who thinks they are complimenting me, perhaps, has a negative view of aging? They think looking younger is to be desired? If they are basing their concept of age on ads, commercials, televsion shows, and movies, they may view age as a negative.
I encourage you to check yourself. Do you have preconceived negative concepts of certain age groups, particularly the “elderly”. That word in itself is nebulous. When does one become elderly? Does it vary from culture to culture? For the sake of this discusion, if someone asked you to describe a seventy-five year-old woman, what would you say? If you were an artist, how would you paint her? If a writer, how would you describe a typical day for her?
If your answer is that it depends, you passed the test.
Songwriting With the Best
What a great writing session I had today with Mark Narmore and Will McFarlane. We love the song we wrote, but more important we loved writing it. Gone, at least for now, are the days of being in the same room with coffee, chocolate, and soup, but even in a Zoom room today, we connected as old friends. Will and I go back to the seventies in Muscle Shoals music, Mark to the eighties. We have been a part of the Muscle Shoals music community so long we feel like family.
Watch this video, and then tell me I am not lucky,
Now read about Mark Narmore.
“Mark was raised and still resides in Center Star, Alabama,
in the shadow of the music mecca of Muscle Shoals.
He grew up loving and emulating the sounds from those
Shoals studios and has had a 33 year career as a
songwriter. He graduated from Brooks High in 1983, then
attended the University Of North Alabama where he
received a degree in commercial music in 1988.
Mark also worked locally as a radio announcer.
With over 80 cuts to his credit, he has had songs recorded
by Josh Turner, Brandy Clark, Reba, Alabama, John Michael Montgomery, Shenandoah,
Blackhawk, Terri Clark, Craig Morgan and many others.
His song “That’s What I Love About Sunday” was the most
performed song at country radio in 2005 according to
Billboard magazine and spent five weeks at number one. Also it
was the #8 Billboard country song of the 2000’s decade, and achieved
gold sales status.
His first cut was on the Shoals supergroup Shenandoah–
the solely penned “Moon Over Georgia” became a top five hit nationally.
Mark was also co-writer along with Walt Aldridge on the
number two country hit by Blackhawk, “Like There Ain’t No
Yesterday”. Mark was awarded a bronze star for his musical
achievements which is on permanent display in the lobby of the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame.
His songs have appeared on nine gold or platinum albums. Mark has been a staff songwriter for FAME, Jody Williams Music, Reba McEntire’s Starstruck Music Group, March Music, Sony ATV Tree and currently for Noble Vision Music Group in Nashville.Mark has had 14 songs co-written with and recorded by Josh Turner.
In 2016, Mark appeared as a songwriter on records by Brandy Clark and Shenandoah respectively that were nominated for both Grammy and Dove awards.”
Yes, I am writing songs with the best.
I recorded our session today. When I do some editing so I can share just a clip, I will.
So You Want To Hear My Songs?
I have been writing songs since 1974, so I have many. Some I would not want to share. Some I do, but not all at one time. I am often asked what kind of songs I write. I am tempted to reply good ones, but I know they mean what genre. I am all over the place as you will hear. I had forgotten sometimes Rated – R. Here are ten all cowritten, all published by either Golden Ladder Music (BMI), Silver Cradle Music (ASCAP), or River and Stones Music(ASCAP) and respective cowriters’ publishing. Also, at the bottom of this post, are my first two cuts.
These are all demos except the last two which were on records. I have not included the other recorded and released songs. I would like to mention those – Burning Bridges (Garth Brooks), Rain on a River (Georgia Middleman), Can’t Push the River (Lynn Langham), Uncle Hickory’s General Store (Don and Daryl Ellis), Refuge (Randy C. Moore), Slings and Arrows (Sandy Carroll), White Horse (CoCo O’Conner), Miracles and Mysteries (Blues Councel), When I Grow Up (Tonja Rose), I Don’t Need No Daddy (Alecia Elliott Fisher)
I am still amazed I found my first and second cuts on YouTube. Let me Slip Into Something (White Face), You Still Get the Best of Me (Marie Osmond). The wonders of the internet.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for the video and story. Spoilers: Rock’n Roll and Marie Osmand.
This is crazy! I found my first cut online! I thought it was gone forever. Jimmy English and I wrote it when we were writing for Fame in the 80s. It has been so long ago that I am not sure which Fame catalog. We wrote it trying to please Rick Hall, Walt Aldridge, and Tommy Brasfield. Apparently we did. They changed my hook from Let Me Slip Into Something Comfortable. I laughed when I heard it. I think it is my only R-rated song.
Will wonders never cease. Since I was searching, I searched for my second cut and found it. This one was also when I was a Fame writer in the 80s. I wrote this one with Bob Garfrerick.
Lord, I am old!
I often tell people my life after retirement has been a Zen life, but that’s not true. If it were, focusing this blog would be easier. As is, my life is complex with a wide spectrum of interests, passions, obsessions, speculations, philosophy, and experiences. Although I refuse to let it define me, I think my having bipolar disorder with all the extreme highs and lows has influenced all of my life. The excessive creativity is worth the lows although I do envy others who have the creativity without the extreme lows.
Seventy-five has been a transition year for me although I am not sure what I am transitioning to. I feel the need to capture my life in words so others will know me. At first, I considered this blog as a way to share my legacy, but now I realize no one can know what their legacy will be, only what they hope it will be. In creating and organizing content, I have had to look closely at what I have done, what I am doing, and my ulterioral motives. I find myself making choices of what I do based on that introspection. Everyday I am contributing to my legacy.
Stephanie C Brown, the blog, and Stephanie C Brown, the person, are evolving. For ulterioral motives and shameless self-promotion, the blog falls in the category of self-branding. Self-branding feels so egotistical, but so be it for the long term goals.
Full circle, winding roads, side roads, and dead ends, the journey continues.
Caught in the Act
I caught this Gulf Fritillary butterfly so intent on gathering nectar that it ignored me and my camera. I often get shots but usually not so many in quick sequence.
My yard – Florence, Alabama
August 22, 2020
Bipolar or Just the Way People Are?
“At loose ends” – “Out of sorts ” – “Twixt and between” – “All at sea”
All the above describe me for the last few days. . Do “normal” people at times wake up feeling the uneasiness, the free-floating anxiety, the sense of dread, the scared feeling in the pit of the stomach? Of course, there is no normal as far as people go, but when you have any mental disorder you tend to think of others as normal. ( I fight against the classification of bipolar as a mental disorder, but that is the clinical classification.)
The thing that puzzles me is the when and why. The drift is gradual, the cause uncertain. I know others struggle as I do. The difference in me and some others is I know this too will pass. That certainty makes all the difference in my life. I remember when I did not know that. A few days or maybe weeks of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and out-of-step with the rest of the world are not so bad as long as I know sooner or later I will feel as right as rain again.
I have what I call my strategies to make it sooner instead of later. I think they would work for anyone, normal or not, but I am sure they will help anyone who struggles with bipolar disorder.
- Sleep –
- Take Meds – if you truly have bipolar disorder and think meds are not a good thing…that’s another conversation
These three are non- negotiable for me every day and night. What I eat and how I sleep are important, but I need the short mantra. A fourth one, exercise, should be non-negotiable, but I do not always accomplish it. These are so simple and basic, one would think no thought or effort would be required. For me, they are. To move through and get back to a better place, I have other strategies. None of them work all the time, but there is always at least one that does.
These bipolar posts are hard to write. Bipolar disorder does not define me, but the more I share the more some people see me through that filter. Because I have been told so often how my sharing has helped someone to cope or better understand, I accept the discomfort. I put myself out there as the bipolar disorder poster child. I qualify because at seventy-five I have a full, happy, productive life.
So I write. I breathe. I eat. I sleep. Maybe tomorrow I will exercise. If I shut down, still I trust. Tomorrow is a new day. My strategies will work. Perhaps not quickly, but this too will pass.