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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Songbob Adopting a persona in songwriting (49) Lyr Add: DISCOVERY: GRANNY'S PICTURE (Bob Clayton) 13 Jan 10


I sometimes have found that NOT having a persona leads (me, anyway) to writer's block. I took Bob Franke's songwriting class at Pinewoods a while back, and he assigned me to write about the photos in the camphouse (the photos of the founders of the camp -- deadly dull photos of aging overweight people). One of the photos did not have a name caption, so I didn't know who it was. I went four days of the week before it occurred to me to step outside myself.

Who was looking at the photo?
A camper.

Why did he notice it?
It was of his grandmother.

Why was that important?
He didn't know "granny" was into music.

Why not?
His folks were against music.

Bingo!

        Discovery
        (Granny's Picture)

I saw my granny's picture just by chance
At a summer camp for music and dance,
There on the side of the camphouse wall,
Where I'd never expect to see her at all.
There were other pictures there, and stories, too,
How they started the camp, and saw it through.
I knew my Granny was a crusty old dame,
But I never knew that music was her game.

I got into music in a roundabout way,
Listening to what the rock 'n rollers play.
Heard the Rolling Stones do "Prodigal Son,"
Had to find the source, learn how it was done.
So I got a guitar and learned to play,
Practicing hard both night and day.
My Mom said I'd be a "singing fool,"
And Dad said, "Son, don't you dare quit school!"

So I stayed in school and learned a trade,
But music was the best thing I ever made.
My folks didn't seem to understand
My fascination with an old-time band.
Then I get to this camp and find my kind
Of people and music, and no one minds
What I do with my life; then out of the blue,
I find my Granny liked music, too!

Whatever the reasons my parents had
For hating this music makes me sad.
Something turned them sour so long ago
That they'll never know the little bit of Truth I know:
Music and dance are a part of it all,
If you leave them out of life, that life is small.
Granny knew that in a basic way;
That's why I saw my Granny's picture yesterday.


Reprise:

I saw my granny's picture just by chance
At a summer camp for music and dance,
There on the side of the camphouse wall,
Where I'd never expect to see her at all.


Copyright (c)1989, Bob Clayton

----

After the camper concert where I sang it, another camper said she thought I was brave to tell my story that way, in public and all, and when I told her none of it was true, her face fell so thoroughly I felt sorry for her (I really have to develop a way of letting people down more easily).

So finding a persona, or telling a story, are two good ways to keep your songs from becoming "I feel, I feel" songs concerning navel interests.


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