Embrace the Fall

Rhinetiny.jpg I wrote a piece about change (that was ultimately killed) that includes a bit that explains how I came to write the line “falling with my arms wide open.”

“Life is hard. And change is what makes it that way … Why aren’t we better at? We’ve been facing change since birth, we should have it down …

“I’d been dumped months before by the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and I was sitting on my couch in a stupor, realizing that there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it … I just sat there, trying to watch television, with this ever present ache. Of all things, a TV movie about alien abduction called Taken came on, and the main character said, “We’re all standing on the edge of a cliff. All the time, every day. A cliff we’re all going over. Our choice isn’t about that. Our choice is about whether we want to go kicking and screaming or whether we might want to open our eyes and our hearts to what happens once we start to fall.” For the first time in months, the ache began to subside.

“… Sometime after my alien-abduction-TV-movie-epiphany, I was watching a rerun of Sex and the City. (I get all my best wisdom from TV, apparently.) At the end, Carrie Bradshaw comments about her imperfect, ever-changing life. “Maybe the best any of us can do is not quit, play the hand we’ve been given, and accessorize the outfit we’ve got.”

“I had a plan. It was time to get up off the couch. Don’t quit. Embrace the fall. And wear a nice outfit.”

And not too long after that I think, I went to Durham and started my next book. (The picture is of J. B. Rhine, the head of the former Duke Parapsychology Laboratory.)

Update!! Here’s My Song!

A friend put it online for me. QUALIFICATION: I am not a great singer to begin with, but I am very shy so if I think people can hear me I get scared, and when I get scared my voice gets timid and shaky and FLAT. I did the best I could to sing past my fear, but you shall see the results.

ALSO, I didn’t mean to sound so sad! The point was, yes, life can be hard but you never know what’s going to happen next, like winning American Idol. The winning song is sung by the winner of American Idol, so the person singing this song is exemplifying what happens when you hang in there.

Anyway, here it is.

I Entered The American Idol Songwriters Contest!

Idolsong2.jpg I am officially entered in the American Idol Songwriters contest. When you submit your song they ask for a bio about you AND about your song, and they only give you 100 words! This is what I said:

Everything about me and my song comes down to this part of the lyrics:

“Nobody ever tells you when dreams come true,
that some of those dreams will be bad.
When life knocks you down again and again
And it seems like you’ll always be sad …

Start falling with your arms wide open …”

In other words, embrace uncertainty and failure and everything else along with the good things in life.

I’ve never written a song before, but I am a writer. Thank you for the opportunity. I had fun trying to write a song.

Okay, some of the time I fun. That part of the lyrics, by the way, came straight out of something that happened in my life, which I will explain later. Until I can figure out how to make the music audible in some way, here are the lyrics.

Falling With My Arms Wide Open

I’m falling with my arms wide open.
And I don’t know what happens next.
But it took everything I had just to get myself here,
and I’m ready for whatever comes next,
yes, I am ready for whatever comes next.

I push away from the table, yes the meal was fine.
The guests were funny and the wine divine.
Now it’s time to go home, and time to sleep
And dream this dream that I mean to keep.

And I’m falling with my arms wide open.
I don’t know what happens next.
But it took everything I had just to get myself here,
and I’m ready for whatever comes next,
yes, I am ready for whatever comes next.

Nobody ever tells you when dreams come true,
that some of those dreams will be bad.
When life knocks you down again and again
And it seems like you’ll always be sad …

Start falling with your arms wide open.
Because you don’t know what happens next.
You see it took everything I had, to make this dream come true,
and I’m ready for whatever comes next,
yes, I am ready for whatever comes next.
oh yes, I’m ready for whatever comes next.

Oh God, What Was I Thinking??

Idol3.jpg First. I took a class to learn GarageBand in order to write a song for the American Idol song contest, but I promptly forgot everything they taught us and I can’t figure out my notes.

Second. I spent the entire day yesterday composing a pop song and at around 8PM realized it was hopelessly bad. A whole freaking day.

Third. So I stayed up and started a ballad, using the same lyrics, and this morning I recorded me singing it a cappella because I can’t figure out how to use GarageBand to do anything else.

Fourth. I don’t hate the song, but I’m not a great singer to begin with and now my voice is shot and I can’t fix it or change anything. I tried adding harmony, which would really help, but I’m just not good enough at manipulating tracks to really make it work.

Anyway, that’s where I am. I want to submit this tomorrow, so I will try again in the morning to make it better, and then whatever I’m left with, I’m entering. Even if it sucks, I’m entering it.

Good lord in Heaven, what was I thinking?? I’m going to need a vacation from this, but next week I start jury duty.

I Need to Make this Girl Cry

Idol.jpg I don’t know why, but I got it into my head that it would be fun to enter the American Idol song contest. I don’t know how to write songs! But there it is. The deadline is March 31st, so I don’t have much time. Yesterday, I took a class at the Apple store and learned a music program called Garageband. Then last night I listened to happy songs, and moving songs, and tried to figure out what made them happy and moving.

I plan to pay really close attention to this one chorus I always loved to sing from Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The song builds and builds until you get to this part where you feel on top of the world. I swear by the time you get there you feel like you could rule the world with the power of your joy. This is exactly what they are looking for, I think. I’ll write some lyrics about following your dream, and succeeding against all odds and how hard it was, and try to imitate this chorus.

The last time I tried to write a piece of music I was 16 and what I discovered was: it’s not easy. But I’m going to follow my … whim and succeed against all odds!! Maybe.