Goodbye to My Dear Friend and Great Songwriter!

 Cindy Wilt Colville June 8, 1956 - July 10, 2014 Music Publisher and Friend to Songwriters

Cindy Wilt Colville
June 8, 1956 - July 10, 2014
Music Publisher and Friend to Songwriters

This month my heart said farewell to a very dear friend and fellow songwriter, Cindy Wilt Colville. She passed on July 10th as a result of lung cancer. Cindy and I often shared conversations about writing, and we understood when bad health days interfered with our writing. Even during her darkest days Cindy kept on writing and caring. You may read more of her obituary here.

Many of you will remember Cindy from her guest blog here on Carolana Songs in October 2013. In her honor I would like to reprint her comments about the importance of journaling. 

WRITING YOUR LIFE
Reprinted with permission from cindywiltcolville.com and carolanasongs.com, October 2013
A valuable tool for capturing your life experience is journaling. This week I had a conversation with a songwriter who is in her first year of college. She is taking eighteen credit hours, so her plate is full. She told me she is committed to journaling every day. She is also engaging another tool to capture her life experiences, that is, to document any memorable events by writing them down on small pieces of paper and collecting them in a jar.
One key part of your songwriting life is your own life experience. It is the struggles, challenges and joys, successes and (to quote Bob Halligan, Jr.) the things that bug you that will inspire your songs and give them uniqueness. I believe that the desire to create songs is a gift that comes from God. It is your choice and opportunity to respond to this gift by doing the work it takes to write those songs.
I challenge you to journal: fifteen minutes every day for the next month. Set a timer and write whatever comes into your mind including scriptures, conversations, feelings, and any other details about your day. Do not edit anything you write. You will not have to show this to anyone. At the end of the month go back through your entries and highlight any insights and themes that have potential to be sources for song ideas. I would be very interested to hear if this discipline helps you to listen to your life.
I encourage you to write songs true to your own experience. Your most authentic creative expression will come from this place and have the greatest impact on those who hear your songs.

My dear friend, I will never sit at my writing desk without my heart missing your sweet spirit! Enjoy your new home, and I will see you at the Big House!

Writing with Red Toes of Courage

boot.png

Each year I fight the decision of buying my stage clothes or not. As my MS progresses, I am performing less. Yet my heart shouts out a call to courage — and I am able to write and perform another year.

In spite of my courage, the last few months have brought long periods of my being MIA on social pages and performance stages. My Progressive Multiple Sclerosis has caused several health issues since last November. Last week I had to face the reality that I am no longer fighting a MS Battle, but now am fighting a MS War. Excessive fatigue and chronic pain are suddenly my daily companions.

Last month I had yet another hospital crisis that forced me to face the realities of living with advanced MS. For several years I have dealt with mutated white blood cells. Now, my neurologist has found that my red cells are showing signs of mutation. My body is also rejecting protein cells, due to this red cell malfunction. This new blood problem is causing very painful bleeding and hematomas in the deep tissues of my hips and legs. It is like walking around on a broken leg without a plaster cast or crutch.

My doctor says my resistance and ability to heal is growing weaker and weaker. AKA my body has grown too weak from the MS to fight back against injuries or infections. This kind of acute pain in the body makes the brain weaker even without MS. Episodes of deep tissue bleeds and infections will come with more frequency and severity, until my brain just gets too weak to send signals to the vital organs to function. That could happen tonight, or one-night years from now.

My doctor reminded me that my music and writing is the best medicine.  In fact it is better than any medicine that she can prescribe for me. In other words, keeping my passion and purpose alive will keep me alive!

My doctor explained, “You may only be able to perform a couple of times all year. But you will have the joy of tapping into one of your greatest passions! My prescription is for you to get your new stage clothes and look at them twice daily — once in the morning and once at night. Get this prescription filled BEFORE you go home today.”

So later that afternoon, a very frightened and confused me selected new performance clothes for this year. As I gathered the pieces together, I realized that a signature boot had been selected for me this year. How exciting to know that a boot had been designed just for me! The boots are Carolina blue with bright red flames designs on the sharp-toes. WHAT EXCITEMENT I FELT! God winked at me as to say, “This year you will be kicking Multiple Sclerosis’ behind with your new RED TOES OF COURAGE!” Even if I have to wear my new boots 24/7, I will keep kicking as long as my life-clock keeps ticking!

Tell me about how you have shown courage to overcome life’s obstacles. How often do you have to sound the courage call in your life?

Ask Him How to Celebrate Memorial Day! Frightened and Alone?

Even in a time of multiple conflicts and wars, it is amazing how easily many Americans forget the authentic faces of Memorial Day.

Recently I attended a program that was being filmed for a Christian TV special. The military honor guard entered the room while the Charlotte Symphony played ballroom waltz song! Everyone remained seated, many even continued talking, even though our great banner of freedom was being displayed before us with all the ritual, formality, and respect that the members of the military troop could project.

I sprang to my feet when “Ole Glory” was escorted in the room regardless of the mistaken choices of the majority of the congregation (perhaps provoked by the mistaken “cue” of music). I stood in respect for the many brave men and women who sacrificed their Memorial Day BBQs, their families, and all too often their lives so that “Ole Glory” could continue to be a “Grand Ole Flag.” I also stood in honor of my husband’s military career that has spanned over four decades. There were those times, while working at National Headquarters in the D.C. Area, he would be called to go into an unknown location for undisclosed periods of time. On several of these occasions, I was hospitalized in the ICU facing an aggressively, progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis without my best friend and support at my bedside - frightened and alone!

Yes, just like this little fellow at his daddy’s graveside, I was often left frightened and alone so my loved one could bravely defend our great banner of freedom, Ole Glory.

Frightened and alone, much like this little fellow sits gazing at his father’s grave. For him there will be no little league baseball games and fishing trips with his daddy. Instead he must continue in life, frightened and alone, so adults can ignore the flag his father just died to protect.

He sits frightened and alone, so their egocentric video filming will not be interrupted for a program correction to respect our greatest symbol of freedom?

He cries, frightened and alone, so that Christian leadership can ignore Ole Glory while filming in a building named “American Heritage.”  But without the sacrifice of this little boy’s father, there would be no American Heritage!

In this time of so much political discord and lethargy, let us not forget the foundation on which this great country was built.

CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP, LET US BE FIRST TO STAND TO OUR FEET IN HONOR OF THOSE WHO STAND BRAVE TO PROTECT OLE GLORY!

Reprinted by request from editorial section by Dr. Carolana Callaway.

Editing Lyrics: A Morning Glory Lesson

I am the queen of brown thumb gardeners.

Spring sunshine has arrived! My heart jumps with joy to hear the bird’s song and smell the fresh morning air. This spring I declared to be the year that I would raise Morning Glory flowers from a seed packet! Since my brown thumb has been known to kill silk flowers, I doubted my seeds would ever become flowers.

So, I planted my seeds in a fancy crystal vase with beautiful tumble-glass in the bottom. At least if the flowers didn’t make it I would have a vase filled with glass-decorated dirt that would look great.

As days passed, I was shocked to see the whole package of Morning Glories had sprouted and were quickly overgrowing the vase! WOW, I had a flower garden sprouting out of a crystal vase. Time to transplant them. Before I could transplant them, I had to untangle their roots from all the decorative glass pieces in the vase. I also had to remove the fancy, tumble glass shards to uncover the core roots of each flower growth.

 Tumbled ocean glass from my international travels.

Tumbled ocean glass from my international travels.

After all the clutter and glamour was removed from their roots, each tiny flower could finally do what it was designed to do, bloom in the morning. The very next day the tiny Morning Glories not only bloomed, but they bloomed all day long!

My songwriting often parallels my crowed, decorative vase. I often get too caught up in finding decorative words and phrases. Much like each Morning Glory seed, my song lyrics cannot bloom with all the extra attempts to decorate the words. However, when I remove the impressive, decorative stuff from my lyrics, a stronger lyric reveals itself. Then the song lyric blooms with a more authentic meaning.  I can no longer hide under layers of extra, decorative words. I must strip down my lyrics to the words that are REAL! And to write real, I must become real with myself! Then my lyrics will have more meaning to the listener.

 One of my Morning Glories.

One of my Morning Glories.

Now I know that the impressive word for this is “editing” song lyrics. But I call it writing what is real!

How do you know when you are being real in your writing? Do you have any favorite “impressive” words you find yourself having to edit out of your lyrics?