Warring voices


Imagine that I weigh 300 lbs. Got it? Okay. Now imagine that I have a sprained ankle. And asthma. And flip flops on my feet. And it’s 113 degrees outside.

Now, put me in the middle of a pack of marathon runners with fabulously long legs and handy water bottle packs strapped around their waists. They’re all stretching and high-5ing each other, shaking out their limbs, ready to kick some serious road race booty. Then the shot sounds, and they’re off… and I am aiming to keep up with them for 26.2 miles.

That’s a little bit how I feel when it comes to songwriting in Nashville.

Nashville is where really good songwriters live. This is where people come to make a career out of writing songs. They are gifted, and skilled, and practiced. They are amazing. They are transcendent. And while I know that songwriting is anything but effortless, they make it look effortless – like someone who is born to run, gracefully bounding like a gazelle. And I’m heavily slogging far behind, huffing and puffing, barely able to put one foot in front of the other – let alone master the bar chords.

Sometimes I wonder why I thought it was a good idea for me to move here – HERE, of all places! – when I really had no idea what I was doing. I am an amateur, a novice – at the shallow end of the talent pool, splashing around because I love the water, but never able to venture beyond the 3 foot depth mark.

True, in theory, I moved here to Nashville to learn. But the learning comes slowly. It takes time, and it takes work. To be honest, I’ve never really had to work for anything in my life. As a child, school came easily. Friends came easily. Music came easily – that is, up until now. If anything did not come naturally, like, oh, ANY PHYSICAL EXERTION WHATSOEVER, then I simply did not do it. I hate the feeling of doing something poorly, and so I have avoided situations in which I might fail.

Logical Annie says, “It’s not a competition. You do not have to be perfect. You have something unique to offer. You just need to keep working at it. Good ideas will come. Good songs will come. You’re growing and improving, even when you don’t feel like it. This is all an adventure, a grand experiment, and it’s a good thing you’re here.”

Gloomy Annie says, “Maybe I should just move to Nebraska.”



  1. erin on July 29, 2008 at 9:17 AM

    while gloomy annie would make gloomy erin quite happy (for ohh, the next 2 weeks) if she moved to nebraska, you DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT, gloomy annie will become gloomier at the sight. God gave you a voice and a talent and the gumption to go after your dreams. Don’t take that lightly. It will come, just give God a chance to work on that FOR you. I know you know all this, but sometimes we need a reminder.

    And if that doesnt work, a swift kick in the ass is coming next. Maybe i’ll make a roundhouse.

  2. Greta on July 29, 2008 at 10:49 AM

    1.) You ARE a great writer. If you ever need proof, just watch me dissolve into tears while listening to “First You Cry.” Want to see it again? Play the song: watch the Greta: tears they come. It’s a powerful song. And that’s just ONE of them.

    2.) If you did move to Nebraska, you would get elected prom queen. First thing.

  3. Grant on July 29, 2008 at 12:04 PM

    “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work”-Stephen King

    Hard work is what makes things worth doing, if it were as easy as flipping burgers and asking “would you like fries with that” everyonne would be doing it and it wouldn’t be as fun.

    Also remember, every single songwriter was at some point the novice splashing around in the shallow end.

  4. Anonymous on July 29, 2008 at 1:27 PM

    No matter how bad you might feel in Nashville…. Nebraska sucks, trust me.

  5. duane on July 29, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    that’s a great quote from stephen king.

    ive got to agree with logical annie here. you DO have something unique to offer. people are clearly interested in what you have to say – just look at all of us following your blog. the craft of songwriting is just that – a craft. you have to work at it. most professional writers have to work at it. its like mr king said – you gotta put in the work. there ARE so many talented musicians out there making it look easy, but there are also just as many, if not more, talented people (and many that are in our own circles) who arent putting in the work, and just hoping that something will happen. just letting that talent go to waste.

    all that to say – keep writing. and rewriting. and then writing some more. success is borne out of persistence and faithfulness. were all rooting for you!

    p.s. – would gloomy annie dress all dark and goth-ish?

  6. Anonymous on July 29, 2008 at 2:01 PM

    But, Annie, how quickly you forget the truly great songs that you have never even
    performed (except from the dashboard) ….Airstream Trailers – Livin Our Aluminum Dream….and who could forget ‘Til the Water Runs Clear? They just need a little tweaking – and are not so different from a certain Bluebird Cafe performance of last week
    (“I’ll show you white trash”? does that ring a bell?)

  7. Case and Los on July 29, 2008 at 3:12 PM

    So was this B for Bar chords? Or B for boo hoo hoo, I’m having a pity party? J/k.

    Remember my advice! I hope you taped up your mom’s flower card on the fridge or something.

  8. Krissie on July 29, 2008 at 3:15 PM

    I just met my brother’s girlfriend. She’s from Nebraska. She finds eastern Kentucky entertaining. She taught herself to step dance by watching Riverdance over and over. I really don’t think there’s anything for you in Nebraska.

    Hold in there. We’re all pulling for you!

  9. AnnieBlogs on July 29, 2008 at 3:41 PM

    Dear Gloomy Annie,

    My name is Annie. I haven’t met you yet, but do me a favor. Stay in Nashville for just a few more weeks at least. Because Logical Annie and I have become great friends and I would really miss her. We’ve been looking forward to living in the same city for a while now.

    Oh, and I called Nebraska. They said that you aren’t welcome- they don’t prefer gloom. So you really need to stay in Nashville. :)


  10. Anonymous on July 29, 2008 at 3:49 PM

    Just remember, Faith sold t-shirts for Reba, and she doesn’t even write.

  11. Anonymous on July 29, 2008 at 5:18 PM

    “Nashville is where really good songwriters live. This is where people come to make a career out of writing songs. [You] are gifted, and skilled, and practiced. [You] are amazing. [You] are transcendent. And while I know that songwriting is anything but effortless, [you] make it look effortless – like someone who is born to run, gracefully bounding like a gazelle.”
    …and that is why it is perfect that YOU are there as well!

  12. Sarah on July 30, 2008 at 12:34 AM


    The will of God is a funny thing.

    I blogged again.

  13. Rebekah on July 30, 2008 at 7:45 PM

    I just have to say to all those who wrote negatively about Nebraska… don’t be such haters! nebraska has a LOT to offer… good steak, corn, awesome football, a forever21, a soon to open anthropologie, and wonderful people.
    granted, i might be saying all this because i’m not living there at the moment, but nonetheless. :)
    i will always have a special place for nebraksa and it’s people.
    life is whatever you make it, wherever you are.
    but boy, is it good to be back in seattle.

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