Top of the Line

I don't know what it means, exactly, but it's the name of what my lyric "Your Second Wife" won last night at the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival Competition. It's technically second place, and definitely was my first time sitting in the audience waiting to hear my name called to win something.

Here are the first two lines:

Kid #1 bit someone, he's kicked out of school
Kid #2 did something bad in the neighbors' swimming pool

It's a miniature domestic drama about a bad day that gets better. It will never be on the radio, I don't think, but it seems to strike a chord with people and the Music Industry people did say it made them giggle.

Sending a few giggles back to Nashville: just another service I provide. Not counting the unintended giggles caused by bad songwriting, mine as well as other people's.

Anyway, I'm thrilled. It was a first draft and I had no idea what was going to happen. Now I'm trying to figure out how to add "Award-Winning" to my header without being annoying. But what's really important is what I learned and where I can go from here. I think a lot of us at the workshops and festival secretly hoped that some Industry Person would walk up to us and say "we want that song" or "Come see me next week" and of course that didn't happen. I would not say my career is taking off, but I think I know where the runway is now.

It's a ton of work, but since it's work that I enjoy, I'm energized. I also have two new song ideas that I can pursue as of yesterday, when I sat on the bench in the locker room at the gym jotting down rhyme fragments and cackling.

What I learned that is specific for me is the difference between songwriting, in general, and songwriting that has commercial potential. It's way too much to go into, especially since I have to suit up and go sing two services on very little sleep. But I'm excited because I see the ways to be commercial and still write from my heart, and because I love writing and I have been given a boatload of ideas and techniques, and access to some extremely helpful and/or supportive people.

I'm tired and happy and there might not be enough Mucinex in the world to unclog me today. More later. For now I'm just praying I didn't close my eyes in the grip-and-grin photo of me.


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