It was my turn to teach the lesson this last Tuesday at our monthly NSAI meeting at the Bluestem Bistro in Manhattan. The little apple. The big apple is New York City and the little apple is Manhattan, Ks.
I believe when you are teaching that you need to share a story that relates to the subject you are talking about. This concept is nothing new. Jesus used it when he talked about spiritual things. He talked about the missing coin, the prodigal son, lost sheep and planting crops. My story is about golf balls. Golf balls and songwriting. What in the world do those two things have to do with each other?
For those of you that don't know me very well, I am cheap. I am cheap and golf balls are expensive. I remember the first time I went and played golf at a real golf course with my buddy Rick. I was going to find lost golf balls so in the future I would not need to buy them. I was not having any luck finding any golf balls. I was looking in easy to get to area. The middle of the fairway or next to the cart path. I wanted it to be easy and I looked in places that were convenient and easy. I had no luck.
I know where and how to find a golf ball now. I look for golf balls where I lost my golf ball. If I hit my golf ball there and lost it, you can bet other golfer are doing it too. Usually, golf balls are in tall grass, weeds, poison ivy, buried in leaves or at the bottom of the lake. Sometimes I may not find my ball but I will find somebody else's ball. I will stop looking and consider this par for the hole. A good game of golf is when you have more golf balls at the end of the game than you had at the start of the game.
How do you find good ideas to write about as a songwriter? It is the same as looking for golf balls. A lot of great songs are written about the messy parts of our lives. One of my favorite songs is by T. Graham Brown. It is called Wine into water. It is about his struggle with the bottle. One line is Can you help me turn the wine back into water? I could try to write this song but I could never do it as well as T. Graham Brown. The reason is because I don't struggle with alcoholism. It would not feel real or authentic.
I could also write about happy times in my life. We all have happy times, Times when we are in love, getting married, the birth of children or grandchildren. These are happy things that everybody experiences, If you tell your story, other people have had the same type of stories. Their story might be a little different but very similar. People want to hear a song that is about them not you, but when you write a story about you it resonates with them. (If it is a great story.)
Songs are like golf balls. They are hidden and you have to look hard to find them. They are not out in the open. You will find them as you are living your life. The more weeds and tall grass and the deeper the water is the best place to find those great ideas. Remember that the next time you are going through a difficult struggle in your life. Maybe God is giving you an opportunity to share your story to help other people get through their difficult times. Good luck finding those golf balls.