Friday, December 28, 2007

The 12 Blogs of Christmas - Day 2

Today, we have been continuing to celebrate the gift of relaxation. The weather outside was frightful, but the fire and Christmas cookies were so delightful!

Actually, I did a fair bit of work today in preparation for the weekend. On Sunday, we have 2 church services at 2 different churches, and Monday afternoon, we're doing a New Year's Eve concert at a seniors centre. Gerald and I are in good shape for each, but we still need to do final rehearsals, final song choices, and after our beautiful days of relaxation, it's a little tough to wrap our heads around performing again this weekend.

This afternoon, I had a brand new experience: My first long-distance co-write! I can't remember if I mentioned this earlier, but I'm participating in a 'challenge' from Song U, where they pair you up with another writer from a different part of the country, or even the world, and you have to write a song together. The tricky part, of course, is that you must write over the phone, on the computer, whatever - just not face to face.

I'd seen Kara's profile on the Song U website, so I was happy when we were paired up. We both have free long distance plans, and I have slower internet right now, so we decided to meet over the phone. We chatted briefly last week, and scheduled our first real writing session for today.

At 1pm, my phone rang, and we started to chat. But to back it up a bit, before 1pm, I was getting nervous. I've done very little co-writing, and to be honest, it's mostly been with Gerald. I was nervous about doing it over the phone with someone I never get to see in person, because I'm a big fan of body language, and without seeing her, how could I tell her honest reactions to my ideas? Also, what if I couldn't think of any ideas? Or what if I got controlling? Or what if I froze? Arg!

I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer, asking for peace and openness, and picked up the phone.

We spent the first large chunk of time just getting to know each other, chatting about families and Christmas and music and such. We completely clicked. We could have talked for hours! Eventually, we got comfortable enough to share our ideas, and we decided to work with Kara's hook.

We brainstormed about the hook - What caused the original image? What did you think of when you found the hook? What do I think of when I hear it? What excites us about this idea?

Next, we started to get practical with it - What is the main focus of the song? What do we want the chorus to say? What about the verses? Do we need a bridge? What about a prechorus?

Before long, we were ready to get off the phone and start writing on our own for a bit. In a very short time, we had chosen an idea, a structure, and a musical vibe. We knew the main theme of the song, and we'd determined the number of lines per section. We broke up the writing - Kara verse 1, me verse 2 - and scheduled our next phone session.

Obviously, nothing is written in stone (pardon the pun!). We may change the structure, the vibe, whatever. We're each going to write "our" pieces over the next few days, and start emailing them back and forth with our own suggestions. And as every writer knows, the song will probably step forward with thoughts and suggestions of its own.

But I'm excited by this challenge, and proud of myself for taking it on. Now, my goal is to have fun, be open to the process, and, hopefully, complete a great song!

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