Category Archives: New Year

A Song Is Born

I thought it was time for a progress report on my “hot” list—songs I have written, or at least conceived of, that are currently inspiring me but are not yet recorded.

I feel lucky (and lazy) to have three songs written and just waiting to be recorded on my living room couch. I know what you’re thinking: “Slow down, Karen! Leave some songs for the rest of us.” I consider a song “written” if it has complete lyrics, a melody, a solid arrangement, and a title that seems likely to stick around. (These elements are subject to change, of course, and often do.)

The first song waiting to be warbled into a mike is the very first one I wrote. It was inspired, in equal parts, by Brahms’s lullaby and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I wanted the chorus to be in German—and to rhyme. But the extent of my knowledge of German was, and essentially remains, “Gesundheit.” As the song involved no sneezing, I was stuck. After a little research, I managed to compose a few brief lines in German. Do they rhyme? That’s not for me to say.

The second song poised to become noise pollution is an upbeat ditty called “Spring’s Out.” It’s about sneaking out of (or into) the house when you’re a kid—which is pure fantasy, as I never left (or returned to) the homestead without my parents’ knowledge, not even once! True to form, the first verse has snuck out:

“Spring’s Out” (first verse)

Spring’s out in the armchair
If you do your crossword there
It’s gotten rather threadbare—
It could snare
Your derrière

The third song champing at the bit is “If I Roam.” With hymnlike verses and a rousing chorus, “If I Roam” is an anthem to the enduring allure of “home”—whatever that means to you. Speaking of the chorus, have a look at it before it gallops off:

“If I Roam” (chorus)

If I roam, roam, roam
My soul will call me home
If I roam, roam, roam
My heart will lead me home
Lead me home

I would also like to take a moment to recognize the seventy-nine song ideas that are currently languishing on my computer. For example…

Last October, a dining companion told me a completely charming story from his days as a college student in Vermont. When summer came, he decided to cross Canada by train. I think you can guess what happened next: he met a girl! Her final destination was Alaska; his was California. I knew it had to be a song. Still in the conceptual stage, “Each Time She Hangs a Picture” will probably be narrative in style, with a country flavor.

Hopefully, at least some of the tunes mentioned in this post will be coming your way in 2023—but please don’t misconstrue this as a New Year’s resolution. Twelve months from now, I don’t want anyone asking, “Hey, where’s that number with the grammatically incorrect German?”

My Predictions for 2013

Frost Cupcakes According to statistics on New Year’s resolutions, 8 percent of people are “successful in achieving their resolution.” This figure seems dishearteningly low. Yet people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t. In other words, non-resolution-makers achieve their not-formally-expressed objectives only four-fifths of 1 percent of the time! This statistic would seem to support the time-honored tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.

Unfortunately, at least to me, a resolution connotes a dispiriting sense of responsibility, requiring a firmness of purpose to which I’d rather not have to commit. Therefore, in the spirit of self-fulfilling prophesy, I have decided to make predictions this year instead of resolutions. A prediction has an element of fate to it, as if it is inevitable and somehow supported by the universe. An individual might play a role in its occurrence, but there is the suggestion of co-participation with an invisible agent.

So here are my predictions, inspired by a combination of intuition and wishful thinking. In 2013, I will . . .

  1. Make good progress on the first draft of my novel.
  2. Schedule more sessions with my coach.
  3. Set up a writing studio.
  4. Really push myself to increase my belly-dance workout from 15 minutes to 20 minutes a day.
  5. Stop saving leftover frosting for snacking.
  6. Have a nice dinner with my husband in New York City.
  7. Resume drinking pumpkin spice lattes around October 1.

If you are looking for ideas for your own resolutions (or predictions), you might want to check out this generator I came across. One of the first suggestions it gave me was, “I will frost cupcakes”—so I think it might actually know something!