Life Here is a Country Song

I have always wanted to write a country song. The good ones are poems that you can sing too, which to me is the perfect combination of my favorite things. So at yesterday’s adult dance and music camp at the Chilkat Center, I took a songwriting class from Christy Fowler. (The first and hopefully annual camp, since it was a big success. The arts center was full all afternoon with everything from swing and belly dancing classes to drumming and sight-reading workshops.) They were still jamming in the lobby while we were rehearsing “Dancing at Lughnasa” in the theater at 7:30. (Have I told you I’m in the play? It will be performed the weekend of Feb. 20. I am Kate, the oldest sister. If you’ve seen the movie, I’m Meryl Streep. I am trying not to think about that.) Anyway, Christy, who is college trained and Haines tested, and who is trying to get Dr. Phil to listen to the album she has recorded of terrific songs that she wrote inspired by his advice, walked us through a song writing session using copies of the Chilkat Valley News for inspiration. It was a group effort, and the time we had was too short- we all agreed on that—but here’s how far we got:

The Chilkat Valley News

Sarah J’s is movin’
The ferry’s runnin’ late
Nosy neighbors call the cops
The bears won’t hibernate

Martha wins the cookie showdown
Yeti’s back to bakin’ bread
Electric rates are spikin’
Joanne and Phyllis wed!

Then, we batted around a chorus, based on Ron’s observation that the newspaper reduced a whole year into one page— it could be a metaphor for time passing, or aging, or time flying— the years become a page and all that, and another line using my comment at the last planning commission meeting, that in Haines, hope is a course of action. (The borough manager had said, “Hope is not a course of action.” But he’s a marine, and I have master’s degree in creative writing. More on that next time.)  

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