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

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.

Posted in Journal, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

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.

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 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 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

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.

 

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

“Let Me Slip Into Something That Feels Good”

The video is a song from 1971. Jimmy English and I wrote the song. Thirty-nine years ago.

Have you ever unexpectely found something from thirty-nine years in your past? Something that was a vague memory. If you are under forty-five, just imagine. Over the years I had not forgetten about the song, but I had forgotten the name of the band, the lyrics, the melody, even that great album cover. The song was an abum cut, never a radio song, so I would be surprised is many people remember it.

Last week while working on another post about some of my songs, I thought about the song. On an off-chance, I searched Googled for what I remembered, “white and something that feels good”. Finding old songs on the internet is not unusual, but finding one of my songs from so long ago on YouTube surprised me.

Little details of that time are now fresh. English and I were writers at the legendary Fame studios writing to please Rick Hall and Walt Aldridge. The song was on Mercury Records with Peter Lubin producing. I was writing about a woman changing into more comfortable clothes. I am not sure anyone thinks of clothes when listening. The band changed the title from “Let Me Slip Into Something More Comfortable”.

Rock ‘ Roll never dies.

Posted in Journal, Stephanie C Brown - Songwriter and Catalyst

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