Location: Adairville, Kentucky, United States

I'm a songwriter and social commentator who sees things a little bit differently from most--and that's a good thing. You can email me at jdindiepub@yahoo.com

Friday, October 13, 2006


What is writer’s block? Is it the inability to write? No. It’s the inability to feel a connection to your writing, because of mood or lack of imaginative juice. The juice comes like a river for some, and like a trickle for others. For those who experience a trickle, there are ways to increase your flow.

Rivers of thought come from a source: the cognitive awareness of the details of life coupled with a desire to share one’s impressions of those details in order to move another. Those who experience the trickle either don’t recognize the details, or don’t know how to organize them into a coherent and compelling form. Let’s assume we all have the ability to appreciate our world, and the details in it, leaving only the mechanics of how to organize our perceptions left to iron out. Organization isn’t so difficult, is it?

Learning to organize thought into a digestible and moving form involves planning. Let’s start with the basics. First, you need a concept, idea, or hook. Once you’ve determined your subject, you should immediately begin thinking of a unique angle—something no one has thought of yet. Next, come up with a series of bullet point topics relative to your subject, and begin organizing your bullet points according to their relevance, or according to a timeline, or storyline. What you’re doing is outlining your subject. Lastly, conclude with a compelling summation of your theme.

Now that you have a solid outline, you can write anything from a newspaper article to a song about your chosen topic. Start fleshing out the details according to your map, or outline. In news and article writing the first few lines are going to make or break the success of your work. It’s no different in the writing of a song. If your outline is organized to maximize the points you’re trying to make, the final write will be superb.

Writing is organization, and the lack of creativity implies a lack of organizational skill. Your writing will improve exponentially if you improve your organizational skills. Like a strong fortress, your words must be constructed on a solid foundation—the outline. Good luck on your craft, and the improvement of it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


INTELLECTUAL HONESTY. You either have it or you don’t. Songwriting is becoming more and more like an intricate dance around certain topics at the expense of honesty.

We are told how and why to feel and think throughout our lives by people we don’t even like, and it affects which of the rolodex of potential words we will choose. We fear that someone might otherwise get offended, so we settle for words and phrases designed to placate the almighty easily offended.

Responsibility assumed from being in the public sphere of scrutiny makes a certain code of self-imposed limitations inevitable, and again--at the expense of intellectual honesty, and even a better song for history’s sake. Truth only happens rarely, and in song it is refreshing (to me).

A lot of trail blazers like Frank Zappa, Ted Nugent, Pink Floyd, and later, EMINEM, took it upon themselves to not be harassed by lunatics who would limit free speech and the absolute free flow of intellectual honesty.

Opinions vary as to an artist’s accuracy or legitimacy, but the fact remains--we have a right to say what we really want to say (the obvious legal exceptions--yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre, unless there really is one, inciting violence, etcetera).
I suggest we vigorously defend the right to be offensive within the law, or we’ll lose even the right to define for ourselves what “offensive” means. It’s already happening; case in point: the Tipper Gore/Frank Zappa fiasco.

Finally, I suggest opening your mind to thinking about the fact that young people purposefully buy offensive material specifically because it contradicts what they had been taught was acceptable, and human beings, in their very nature, never settle for what someone says--they seek to disprove it by rightly listening to the alternative point of view--hence the term, ALTERNATIVE MUSIC.

Viva la difference.