Sunday, October 23, 2005


It's all officially over! I can't believe it all went so quickly, but there is it. My feedback for next year: Please add another day! I still haven't met everyone, and I'm still not a perfect songwriter!

We started early again, with the shuttle and breakfast at 8 am. Our worship today was lead by Dave Moffit, with Kevin and Chad helping out. All praise and worship music. Dave is a great leader, so it was a wonderful way to start the day. Chad is leading music in church tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to that.

This morning was the competition, and here's how it worked: We all met in our small groups, and everyone who wanted to could submit a song on cd. Then we basically had an open critique session. We all heard a song, and Dave and Kevin would give their feedback. Slightly nerve-wracking, but I had an open critique yesterday, so I felt pretty prepared for the experience. My song choice was a song Gerald and I wrote in September. I didn't really have any hopes of winning, but I really wanted the feedback. Well, I got it.

Let's just say, my song was not well received. I was so disappointed! I wanted them to stop looking me in the eyes because I thought I may cry. I wanted to sneak out, find a payphone, and call Gerald so he could tell me I'm talented and brilliant. I love that song! We've done it in church and I know it's ministered to people. But not in this room. They did give a few practical tips, which I completely understand. But the hardest part is that they didn't think it lived up to the title. Dave said he found the title familiar, and therefore we should say something new and innovative in the song. He said he understood the imagery, but we weren't saying anything new. I was so crushed. I didn't think I'd win, but I at least thought it would do better than that.I know it's not personal and I shouldn't take it that way, but this is my heart and soul sung on a tune. How can I not at least feel it in a personal way? I'm having to remind myself that, even though some of their suggestions are practical, critiquing is a subjective process. It may not appeal to these people, but other people have loved it.

I also must confess: It's so hard to write about this awful morning. I'm meeting lots of people here who've read my blog (which is truly weird and wonderful all on its own) and it's hard to think of people reading about my disappointments. But when I started this blog, I vowed to myself that I would be honest about the struggles and triumphs of being an artist. Shame must be put aside. Honesty must always win.

I was quite relieved to hang out with new friends at lunch, and to hear about their better mornings. The Alumni Cafe brought grew new sounds. I met a wonderful lady who,in addition to having four children of her own, has adopted eight (yes, 8!) children through being a foster parent. And she writes music and drama. I got her book and gave her one of my cds. She was just incredible to meet. I love that I've gotten to meet so many new people. And we've all done lots of cd exchanges. Again, I'd like it to be a day longer so I can actually get to have conversations with these new people. Yay email!

I had three sessions this afternoon. The first was Women in Christian Music - a panel with Sue, Belinda, and Twila, and moderated by Sue's daughter, Holly. ( I was almost named Holly!) This was actually a perfect antidote for the morning. Good, old-fashioned girl time. There was such a sweet, joyous energy in the room. The ladies shared stories of their struggles in a male-dominated industry, but they also gave great advice on how to achieve your best in the industry. It's amazing that so few women are in decision-making positions in an industry where the greatest consumers are women in their thirties.

Next, I did Extreme Song Makeover, a great class on rewriting a song. This was very inspiring, again, in light of this morning. Sue, Marty, and Chad all shared stories of when and how they had had to rewrite songs. Sue gave some really practical tips for doing a rewrite. And all three were able to play before and after versions of their songs. Very helpful!

My final class was highly recommended by everyone: Dave Clark's class on creativity. He showed a video called Everyday Creativity, followed by a discussion. "Great", I thought, "a waste of my time". After doing the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, I'm pretty closed-minded about other creativity programs. I'm very confident that because I've experienced the best, I, therefore, have nothing to learn. Oh, silly girl!

The video was hosted by photographer, Dewitt Jones, who equated creativity with falling in love with life. Isn't that wonderful? He told us that, to every solution, there are many right answers. As creative people, we should never just settle for the first right answer. We should move around, look at things from different perspectives, and try to find a better right answer. It was really great. I think more people should see this video. (Oh, and more people should do the Artist's Way too. It's on the reading list here, and I've been chatting it up to people all day. Soooo good!)

We had another Alumni Cafe tonight, which ended with a great acapella performance. I'm such a voice-hound, so I love acapella singing! We then had the awards and final presentations. I, of course, won nothing. (insert self-pity here) But lots of great and deserving songs did win awards. It's exciting to think what will happen to these songs now. I wonder if this pedigree will help put them in front of the people who need to hear them?

Then came the worst part - saying goodbye. Such a short time, and yet so many new friends. I am so thankful that Joel told me about this. I am so glad I came. Just a few days ago, I was wondering why God would bring me here. But answers have been revealing themselves all weekend. What a blessing this place has been for me! I am so thankful for Sue and all the wonderful stuff she's doing. I can't wait to come back next year.

Of course, by then, I'll be brilliant!

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