Friday, November 19, 2010

Seven days. Seven songs. This week was unexpected. It came and went as quickly as a Houston winter. Thankfully, it wasn't as disappointing as the 3 day season. In fact, it was far from being a let down. It was certainly a challenge, but one that revived me, even after beating me senseless. Last night we had the after party. About 20 of us gathered in Casa Studio in Austin. We talked and laughed and shared. Everyone sang one song that they had written this week. There was some incredible talent in that room. I almost didn't go. I had things in Houston to do and I was tired and...I was using all of that as an excuse because I was afraid. I knew there would be incredible songwriters and I was intimidated. But all day on Tuesday it sat heavy on me. I could not shake the feeling of being compelled to go. So I contacted Debbie, another songwriter in Houston that was going and told her I'd take her up on the carpool. I showed up at her apartment at 4:20 yesterday and met her for the first time. The ride up was wonderful, the community experienced in Austin was refreshing, and the conversation on the drive home was fantasitc. I'm so glad I didn't let fear keep me from going.

I needed 7in7 for so many reasons. I had been praying that God would expand my community of songwriters. I just have been longing for a creative community. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my current community, but there is just something different about sharing life with people who think like you do, who create, who understand the joys and pains of the creative process. I also had become very aware of my lack of discipline in regards to music and writing. With the CD coming out and God seemingly opening some doors, I knew some things needed to change on the self-discipline front. But let's be honest, I didn't know where to start and my problem is that I lack self-discipline so not knowing where to start meant I wasn't starting anywhere. Yay for 7in7 kicking me in the rear! And I needed to be reminded that there is no end to the creativity God may express through me. I needed to have a reason to stretch how and what I write about. I wrote two worship songs. In all my years of writing (probably about 14 years) I have only written one other worship song. And I had never written a peppy song about sadness. And I certainly had never written a song like Fields of Fire. All in all, despite the exhaustion and having to say no to other things and feeling worthless on somedays, this was a fantastic life-giving week. Here's the breakdown of the days:

Day One: I started out day one feeling good about what was to come. "As My Own" came fairly easily. I woke up knowing that was the song I would write.
Day Two: Not so simple. I had no idea what to write. I would write a couple of lines of lyrics and then hit a wall. By 11:54 that night I had the first 5 lines of Blue Skies and no clue what to do with them. My roommates came in and made me laugh and basically just got me to a place where I could enjoy (sort of) the process rather than being so intent on finding the perfect line. And so I finished "Blue Skies" miraculously without punching a hole in a wall.
Day 3: "Fields on Fire" was hard, but not hard like blue skies. FoF was hard emotionally. It's the first time I have written a song without hope involved. It is the first time I've allowed myself to write just about pain. And while I am not in a current place of feeling such hopelessness, I have been and I had to walk back through that desert to produce this song. It was draining, but also so healthy. I am really happy with this song.
Day Four: "Meet Us Here". I was not sure what I would write on Sunday so I just opened my Bible and read. I was reading 2 Chronicles 6 and there was one line that really struck me. "Is it true you dwell with men?". Solomon is consecrating the newly built temple and asking that the Lord would dwell there and hear the prayers of the people, but he knows that this request is not a small one. Even the heavens cannot contain God, how could the temple...and how can our hearts be a proper dwelling place for such a mighty God?
Day Five: This song was the most surprising to me. As I sat in church on Sunday and listened as Pastor Gregg asked us who our husbands were (what are the things you look toward to satisfy your thirst)and spoke of the woman at the well being cast aside by 5 men, I knew I wanted to write a song about it. I had no idea how to communicate any of that. I have never been in love so I didn't know how I would communicate loving someone and feeling cast aside by them. And then as I sat to write, this song just poured out. It was really a sweet moment with the Lord as he dealt with my heart as these words were being written.
Day Six: I sort of cheated on this one. I had written the first verse over a year ago and had forgotten all about it. So as i was reading through old documents looking for inspiration, I stumbled upon this started song. It took me all day to come up with the rest.
Day Seven: What a strange day. I was relieved and heartbroken that this week was over. That I would wake up the next day and not have to write a song. But, I'd deal with that Thursday. It was Wednesday, day seven, and I needed a song. I have an affinity for peppy poppy songs about sadness, but I have a mental block in writing such songs. When I think sad words, I hear sad melodies. So that was my goal...a peppy poppy sad song. I worked on the lyrics throughout the day and was pretty happy with them, but I had no clue what would happen when I got to my guitar. I was sure that I would be up all night and my guitar would probably be smashed into smitherenes by morning. But that wasn't at all what happened. I got home. Recorded "One" and then went to work on "Sunny Side Sadness". I started SSS about 8pm and was done by 10:30. It was a miracle!
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