Well, maybe there was something in that. Maybe all my years of listening to Paul Simon, Stephen Sondheim and Jimmy Buffett taught me something, because I'm now finding my way as a songwriter.
I can't write tunes. I don't play an instrument and wouldn't know a Major Seventh if it hit me upside the head. But I've always loved lyrics and words and can find a rhythm in them. Iambic pentameter? Yeah, I can do that.
My first song, "Sand Fly Morning," began on a North Caicos morning when the sand flies were heavy. As I hid under my sheet, the words started coming together. "It's a sand fly morning; come back, breeze."
With that as part of a refrain, I put together several verses. I did nothing with the song for a while, then last year asked songwriter Dave McKenney, whom I know through the Parrot Head Club of Richmond, if he'd be interested in putting it to music. He was, and next month will see the debut of the song at Ashland Coffee & Tea. I'm looking forward to hearing it.
Island things are also featured in two more songs I've written, "Walking With My Potcake" and "No Fancy Breeds." I wrote the first in response to a call for lyrics from the Potcake Foundation here, which rescues island dogs and finds homes for them. Musician Lovey Forbes (pictured), my neighbor and husband of the organization's founder, would be putting together an album to benefit the potcakes.
Lovey liked my words and told me, as we crossed ways at the ferry landing, that he'd already put it to music, so on this trip to the island I asked if I could hear the song. We arranged to get together in a few days, and he said, "Do you have any more potcake songs? I need more."
The very next morning, I woke up with a line in my head: "I got a pot-licking, pot-bellied potcake." I set to writing a song that included a potcake, an island cat and a rooster.
Lovey said it was easy to put the words to music. "I like how you write." Wow. What writer doesn't want to hear something like that?
He introduced both songs yesterday at his weekly local gig, and he told me he's interested in any songs I do beyond the potcakes, too.
Thrilled? Too weak of a word for how I feel. But it rhymes with "fulfilled."
I guess I'm a songwriter now.