Friday, July 24, 2009

First post

It feels strange to be blogging. It's like making your diary public. Why would I want to? And why would you want to read it?

What I want to do with this blog is write about my experiences as a folksinger-songwriter. If you are also a singer-songwriter, maybe you'll be able to identify with some of what I'm experiencing. Maybe you'll be able to identify anyway, if you're in any way creative (and if you're breathing, you're creative in some way). I'll try to trace my thoughts and feelings as I pursue this journey, rather late in my life (I'm a sort of singing Grandma Moses).

I actually knew I was a songwriter from the time I was seven and a half. I had just recently arrived at Camp Woodland, where I would spend six incredible summers. Someday I'll write a blog about that. We were preparing for the annual Fourth of July celebration, and we were told by the counselors that our bunk would be writing a song to the tune of "Marching to Pretoria." They had already written the chorus: "We are singing our freedom song, our freedom song, our freedom song, we are singing our freedom song, our freedom song, hooray!" They'd also written the first verse: "Here it is the Fourth of July and so we are all together, so we are all together, so we are all together..." We were asked to come up with more verses. Here I was, seven and a half, at camp for the first time, just learning this song, and a verse popped into my head: "Firecrackers pop, pop, pop, we set them all off together, set them all off together..." The counselors were very pleased, and wrote that down with lots of praise for me. "Who else has a verse?" I raised my hand again, and came up with another verse, which they wrote down with much praise. Then they asked, "Does anyone have a verse besides Patty?" (that's what they called me at Camp Woodland). I learned at that moment that (1) I was a songwriter and (2) it's a good idea to be quiet and give others a turn.

I kept writing songs through my teens and into my twenties. I played coffeehouses, even managed two coffeehouses for a time. (That will make another good post.) Then I got married and had kids, and barely picked up my guitar for about 15 years. There was a song or two, maybe I averaged one every couple of years, but mostly that was put on hold while I raised my family, went to social work school, and worked as a social worker.

Then my husband died, my kids got older, I met friends who wanted to play music, and we formed a band, The Raggedy Crew. (There is a link to them somewhere on this blog.) When the last child moved out, I started going to a songwriting camp, Summersongs, also in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, less than half an hour from Camp Woodland, and I felt I'd come full circle. Hence the title song, and the title, of my first solo CD, Full Circle, which will hopefully be out by the end of August, for the next Summersongs.

In future blogs I'll write about the process of recording that CD, managing coffeehouses, Summersongs, and all sorts of other things. Ta ta for now.

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