Friday, November 02, 2018

Making My Peace with Time: the Song

Melinda Palacio

Working on a new song, stay tuned for a video. 

Yesterday, I wrote a new song, my second effort. If this were the fifties I might have a complete 45 record with an A side, "Bird Forgiveness," and a B side, "Making My Peace with Time." I wrote the Bird Forgiveness theme song in March. This is the year I start writing songs. Last November, I started getting serious about playing the guitar and Steve bought me a guitar for my birthday, a beautiful Martin guitar no less. I'm still madly in love with both Steve and this fancy guitar of mine. It's no wonder I finished a new song on Día de Los Muertos. So far, both songs that I've written honor the women who have come before me.

A year ago, the idea of writing a song seemed like someone else's dream, not mine. For two years now, Steve has been telling me that I should write songs because I write poetry and I have a strong interest in music and learning how to play the guitar. Little did I know that learning to play the guitar would also come with learning how to sing and how to write my own songs.

What I've learned about song writing is that you don't know if you can do it until you sit and work with lyrics and add verses and music. Song writing is so much like writing a poem or a novel. A song begins with an idea, maybe even one line and you build around the mood or concept or story. My first song, the Bird Forgiveness theme song, was based on my poem, "What the Birds Know," from my latest poetry book, Bird Forgiveness (3: a Taos Press 2018).



Back in March when I wrote the song, I had that terrible feeling that most new writers have, that I might not be able to write another song, that it was some sort of fluke or accident and the magic of it all had been used up. A little voice inside me lacked the confidence that Steve had in me when he declared I should write songs.

It turns out the very act of doing and writing gives you the tools you need to finish the work. The work, whether a song or poem or story, always gets better with revision. The only way to work in melody and rhythm to your song lyrics is by trial and error, at least, that's how it worked for me. Decide on a key, try singing or humming the lyric, try a chord and if it sounds okay, keep it and move onto the next line or the chorus or bridge. The melody and rhythm determine how the song evolves and part of song writing is truly magic. At least, for my untrained ear and self, song writing involves a leap of faith.

My new song, "Making My Peace with Time" is about acknowledging the years that have been rolling by without my mother who died when she was 44. Now that I'm closer to the age she was when she died, I am at a stage in my life of acceptance. For so many years, I was in a mournful and depressed state. Now I celebrate life, the person my mother was and the woman I have become. 

Go vote!

Next stop on the Bird Forgiveness Tour include: The Louisiana Book Festival, November 10 at the Capitol Welcome Center Glass Room at 12: 15 pm in Baton Rouge and the University of New Orleans, November 14 at 8pm.

2 comments:

msedano said...

Hoagie Carmichael and Melinda Palacio kindreds of a feather. Love that chord change into the closing couplet.

Skylark
Have you anything to say to me
Won't you tell me where my love can be
Is there a meadow in the mist
Where someone's waiting to be kissed

Skylark
Have you seen a valley green with spring
Where my heart can go a-journeying
Over the shadows and the rain
To a blossom covered laneSkylark
Have you anything to say to me
Won't you tell me where my love can be
Is there a meadow in the mist
Where someone's waiting to be kissed

Skylark
Have you seen a valley green with spring
Where my heart can go a-journeying
Over the shadows and the rain
To a blossom covered lane

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