Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it, Journal

Discovery and Recovery

Has your past ever blindsighted you? Memories you had buried or pushed aside appear front and center. That happened to me this week while working on my book that is not all my story but parts of my story. To determine what I want to include and what I do not, I have revisited my past more than I intended. The section I am working on is Claiming the Past. I intended general advice from the other six songwriters and me. Since I am the author, more of what I have claimed from my past needs to be included than from the other six.

Claiming involves an honest inventory of any memory that makes you uncomfortable. I am not advising on how to deal with that discomfort beyond acknowledging it. Some memories touched sorrow I did realize I was holding on to. I do not want to erase those memories or deny the sorrow; I want to see them for what were and are. In a first draft, an author writes quickly knowing she will leave out and add in the next edits. The book is complex. I do not think I would ever finish it by logically and rationally chosing what to include and what to include. In attempting to write about some years and some experiences, I have stopped and moved on to something else because one memory triggered other memories.

I have written over 10,000 words in twelve days. I am claiming my past. I do not know how much of it I will share. Perhaps not even half of what I have written. Once a memory is shared to more than the people involved, it is not longer personal. Some of mine are precious to me. Some are painful. As I write, I am remembering more of both.

My projected published date was late May. I think my rough draft will be finished by projected time od January 10, but the edits will take longer than anticipated. I am okay with that as long as I write every day and meet my weekly word count goal.

Do not attempt this at home without supervision, especially if you have bipolar disorder and have a hard time with timelines.

Posted in Journal, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

My Words

Words –

Like the air I breath

There as long as I have life

Even if I couldn’t say them

Write them or even hear them

They’d be inside of me

And I would know them

lyrically yours – stephanie c brown

Imagine a world with no words spoken or unspoken. Of course, you can not because even in imagining there are words. Every image, every emotion, your brain is naming or trying to. Words are so important that we have words to describe our relationship with words. We are at a loss for them; we are moved by them; we are hurt by them; we are healed by them; we search for them; we borrow them; we steal them; we use them; we wish we had them; we remember them; we forget them; we go places and have experiences without our bodies with them. We use words for all of these.

What a mystery words are. I am writer and have been as long as I can remember and before, but I do not know how true my words are for others. I found a wide-ruled, black composition book from the first grade. Before I knew cursive, in large print letters with misspelled words, I wrote about a goat who drove a car and smoked a cigarette. That goat had no basis in reality, but it was in my head and I had words to express it although not well. There is so much I wonder about that goat and the little girl who invented him. I am prone to flights of fantasy, and I find words to express them.

JK Rowling, who certainly knows the power of words and has made a lot of money from words, describes words as the most inexhaustible source of magic we have. Think about it. How many worlds created by words have you visited. How many concepts have you grasped because you either read or heard words spoken or written by someone else. We write them, we speak them, we hear them, but what their force is invisible- magic.

Do words ever die? When no one, no one at all, speaks them or writes them or remembers them, maybe they are dead, but their influence never dies. A language many be “dead”, but its shaping power on a culture or society lives on.

Emily Dickenon’s crystal clear succient words in her poem “Dead Words” writes of words:

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

I say the same is true once a word is written. The words I think and never speak or write affect me. The ones I speak or write affect other people. I write for both reasons.

I even have words to describe when I have no words.

                     Soul of the Past

If I had a video of every moment of my life

I would have nothing but images and sounds.

When my eyes are closed and I hear nothing

Then my past comes to me.

It shifts and changes

So I never really know it

But the emotions remain

For they are the soul of the past.

lyrically yours -stephanie c brown

When I started this blog post, I planned to write about the power of words to create. Instead I wrote the words that came to me. Who knows where words come from? As a lover of words and a writer, I have spent hours writing these words and loving writing.

Comments are so appreciated.

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Posted in Bipolar Disorder - I have it, Journal


We have all been there. We have found the initiative and motivation to begin something. We are excited; we have energy. Then we lose that momentum. What then?

I once heard Rick Hall, father of Muscle Shoals music, talk about a time when his professional life as a producer and studio owner had come to halt. I wish I remembered the details of this story, but I do not. As I remember it, he said he was off the wave of his first successes as a producer. He was in a slump. Phones weren’t ringing. He had no production deals. One day he picked up a rubber ball which was on his desk. He threw it against the wall; it bounced back. That was a light bulb moment for him. He knew to get moving he had to do something. He picked up the phone and called people he had worked with in the past and reached out to others. His phones started ringing again. He was back in the game. He quit waiting for other people’s actions, he acted. (I think I have read other accounts by other people of throwing a red ball against the wall as an example of momentum, but I heard it first from Rick Hall.)

I have momentum developing this blog and writing a book. I guess the ball is bouncing back to me. I am in the middle of two Jeff Goins online classes: Intentional Blog and Write a Bestseller. I was motivated to take the classes because of desire; I want to develop this blog and I want to write a book. The classes are giving me confidence and thus more motivation and momentum.

In reading in facebook groups for people in the classes, I see I am not the only one who begins, stops, begins, stops. The trick is to keep beginning again. Each stop makes it harder to begin again because your resistance to what you want to do builds. You begin to think and say, “What’s the use. I have tried this before but never followed through. Why will this time be any different?” Once you come to a standstill, to a state of inertia, only action can get you moving again.

In both groups, the question is being asked. People are asking how they can keep the momentum or even get moving again. Jeff Goins’s advice is somewhat similiar to Rick Hall’s. Do something. In answer to the question, he suggested as soon as the Q&A call was over for each of us to do something to move us toward the goal. The smart part was he limited the time to ten minutes. Do one small thing. Momentum builds, but you have to throw the ball. I suggest you go to . He is a great writer with a lot of success.

I went from wanting to sleep most of the day to being ready to get up in the morning, go to my laptop, and begin writing. With me beginning something new, obsessing with it, and then losing interest is an old pattern. Some people call beginnings that stop, false starts. For me they are true starts put on hold. I have learned enough to know promising myself I will spend a short amount of time each day gets me going again. I may have to promise myself more than once before I do it. The important thing is not to give up.

We probably all have something we have given up on. If it is something you really want, revisit it. Do one small thing. Throw the ball.I would love feedback. Blogs are wonderful, but they are vacuums until the writer and the readers get conversations going. I think my settings allow anyone to comment. Please, do, or email me.

Posted in Interviews and Videos, Muscle Shoals Music, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

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
Posted in Flowers

Beautiful Alabama Fall Day

65 degrees Fehrenheit at 10:00 this morning. Light breeze. 73 degrees high today. I love Alabama in the fall. Years ago someone from Florida came to visity my family in November. They had heard me go on and on about trees, especially in the fall in with the gold, orange, red, and so many shades of green leaves. They were disappointed since almost all of the leaves were brown. We do not have those gorgeous fall colors yet, and they will be gone by November. Maybe that is why I love them so; they are here for a short time. Butterflies are still on my summer flowers, but fall iis in the air.

In the meantime, here is a gallery of today’s flowers.

Posted in Interviews and Videos, Muscle Shoals Music, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

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.)

Posted in Interviews and Videos, Muscle Shoals Music, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

Seasoned Songwriters’ Advice

Covid has changed my life. If not for Zoom, my calendar would be blank. The number of songwriting sessions is about the same as pre-Covid though now they are all Zoom and shorter with no soup and moving around in the house and yard. Song demos have definitely changed with musicians, songwriters, engineers, and invited guests no longer at the same studio creating music. Live songwriting and demos are what I miss most – other than being with family. I do not have as much feeding my energy, and I have more “free” time.

I have found two new things to occupy my time and feed my enregy – working on this blog and writing a book. I like changes and challenges . The learning curves on both have certainly given me those. I am settling into this blog. I like the look so see no need to keep changing that, and posts are easier to write now. The book? That is my big challenge. Structure is hard for me, but a book demands it. My writing has to bump up a bit.

The hardest thing so far has been deciding the subject of my book. Some suggest my life story, or at least a tellling or retelling of my experiences in music. I do not want to write either. They are much too personal with a lot of pain in both. The first subject I chose was very detached. That did not work. Then I found what works for me. My working title is Advise from Seasoned Songwriters Still in the Trenches. I will tweak that. My cowriters and music friends do not know yet they will be in the book.

The book will be available on this blog as will first drafts of some chapters. I have created yet another catagory – Advise from Seasoned Songwriters. Some of the posts will be the regular Wednesdays and Saturday posts, but some will be random.

What do you think? Leave me a comment.

Posted in Journal, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst


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.