Empty

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written even the first line of a song lyric. As always, at this time of the year, that puts me in a bit of a panic. Well, I have written down a line now and again, only to delete it immediately, because I’ve felt what I’ve written has been too much like the old me. I prefer not to write at all, rather than to go back to something I don’t feel works anymore.

 
The feeling I get when I haven’t managed to write one single new lyric for months is a big feeling of emptiness mixed together with feelings of fear and failure. Today these feelings had become so hard to live with that I decided to force myself to write a new lyric. Forcing something down on paper is not an approach I recommend, but I did have a few ideas that had been lingering for a while. I felt I wanted to write a lyric called Empty, because of how I felt, even if the Empty in the lyric was a different one to the one, I carry around with me when I’ve got writer’s block.

 
I won’t explain my lyric, because if I must explain it, I have failed already. All I will say is that I sort of glued together three different song ideas into one and used a few metaphors that had been hanging around for a while and in that way, I managed to get a finished lyric. Well as finished as a lyric ever is.

 
As I said, todays effort is called “Empty”. Whether it has taken me forward, backwards or nowhere what so ever as a lyric writer isn’t mine to say, but the lyric does have a beginning, the story is moving forward and it does have a conclusion of a sort so, so far so good. I have to say I would like to hear it put to music.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

Empty
Can I ask you a question?
Said a lady on the train.
Sure, I answered, nothing to lose
can’t promise no gain.

I’m writing a love song, but
I’ve forgotten how it feels.
When my heart is beating faster
and I feel weak at my knees.

Chorus
Instead I’m empty, just empty, like a closedown mall at night.
Empty, just empty, like the word from a drunk, high as a kite.
Empty, just empty, like a beach on a freezing winter’s day.
Empty, just empty, like a phone call, when there is nothing left to say.

I’m not sure I can help you,
I told the lady on the train.
We’re sort of in the same boat,
and my life is very plain.

I did know that feeling, but
then something just went wrong.
After that I told myself
to stay single and be strong.

Bridge
I want to feel the flutter of a thousand butterflies.
I want to be so happy, I don’t care if I’m told lies.
I want to be unable to work or eat or think.
I want to feel so much in love, I might forget that I hate pink.

Chorus
Instead I’m empty, just empty, like a closedown mall at night.
Empty, just empty, like the word from a drunk, high as a kite.
Empty, just empty, like a beach on an ice-cold winter’s day.
Empty, just empty, like a phone call, when there is nothing left to say.
©Åsa Sandberg 2019

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A Million Dreams is all it’s gonna Take

Sometimes it’s a good thing to be interrupted. Yesterday was such a day. I had written half of my blog when I had to stop and after that I never got back to it. Today I realise how lucky that was, because yesterday I was on the brink of giving up and what I had written before having to take a break, was anything but fun.

 
Yes, I do despair because I can’t see any doors, windows or even a small crack of light anywhere that could be the one thing to bring my lyrics closer to anyone that will see some sort of potential in them and give me a chance. Yes, I do despair when people who have promised to do things, never fulfil their promises and do not even bother to communicate the reason why this is. I really don’t understand that kind of behaviour.

 

Equally I cannot understand that people don’t answer a simple question like; “Do you compose music to other people’s lyrics?” I asked that precise question recently of someone born in the same neck of the woods as I am, but I was totally ignored. Actually, It made me feel quite stupid. It felt like I was punching way above my weight and should know better than thinking that someone with this person’s skill should ever need to bother with someone like me.

 
Add to that the horrors about the competition that I have recently realised was nothing but a family business, filled with people who are now busy buying villas in exotic environments and building a life in warm and sunny places from money they’ve stolen from people’s dreams. Still, what I find even worse is that there seem to be so many individuals that, even after knowing this about the competition, are willing to continue to fund this family’s life of leisure. They continue to send in their songs and lyrics “for the fun of it”. That really makes me angry. Because while that is going on, there is no way of stopping this scam.

 
Anyway, putting all of that aside, I woke with a much brighter outlook on the world this morning and was very pleased that what I had written yesterday will never be published in this forum. Since Friday is a day when I don’t need to go out to work, I started my day by watching “The Greatest Showman” yet again. I absolutely love that film and can’t get enough of the songs.

 
One especially stuck with me this morning, because it really describes me and how I am as a person.

 
“Cause every night I lie in bed.
The brightest colours fill my head.
A million dreams are keeping me awake.
I think of what the world could be.
A vision of the one I see.
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take.
A million dreams for the world
I’m gonna make.”

 
I’ve always been a dreamer. It’s the best and the worst part of me at the same time. It was the part of me that helped me keep my sanity as a child, but it has also been the part of me that has made me crash and burn so many times, when one dream or another has either materialised, or has been so close that I could almost touch it, only for it to be taken away from me again. Those times being a dreamer is very hard, because it means that I crash and burn to a point from where I almost can’t find the strength to stand up, dust myself down, and start all over again.

 
What I thought of when hearing this song this morning was that I’ve been dreaming for over fifty years now and I’ve been dreaming a lot, so I can’t be far away from my million dreams. Therefore, I can’t stop now, because if I do all my accumulated dreams will roll over to the random person that is next in line for having their dreams realised, but who dared to dream for a bit longer than I did.

 
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take!

 

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!

Åsa

 

 

In with the new

Since last week’s blog there has been some new, even more disturbing discoveries about the competition that has turned out to be nothing but a scam, but I won’t spend anymore time pondering over that. I’ll just wish that good, old “Mr. Karma” catches up with the individual in charge of the scam, sooner rather than later.

 
From now on I will concentrate on the new instead. A very nice and somewhat unexpected thing happened a couple of weeks back, when a song I wrote together with Fredrik Holm (www.2b-intune.com) a few of years ago won an “Honorable mention +” in SongDoor’s yearly competition. The plus stands for “deserving special recognition”. The SongDoor competition receives tens of thousands of entries from all over the world and the Country category, in which our song was entered, is one of the largest. Five finalists were chosen, one entry got an honorable mention ++ which means that the song was seriously considered for the final. Then there was one other entry ahead of us, but to land in eight place in such a big category is something I feel very proud about. Specially since this competition is the real deal. To enter their competition is very economical and they are very clear about what you can win, and you actually get the prizes and a fair amount of exposure to the media and the music industry.

 
It is the same company that I send my lyrics to for evaluation and they have always done everything they can to help me develop. They have sent me things I haven’t even asked for and they are always so happy to help me with any questions I might have. The response is always instant as long as my question arrives during working hours in their time zone.

 
The last couple of days I’ve been fiddling with something new to help my lyrics to get noticed. Well, new is a big lie. I was working with video a very long time before I ever wrote one single song lyric, but this side of my working life has been dormant for many years now. It has just been sitting there waiting for the right time and a reason to come alive again. Getting this honorable mention gave me the push to do something more with our song and since I want to help my lyrics along in any way I can, a lyric video felt like a good option. I have to say I really enjoyed being back at the editing table. Writing will always be my first love but editing and creating film is a very close second. Therefore, it is an amazing feeling when these days you can produce good quality products without being a millionaire. Especially since my videos, (yes, I’m planning to do many more) focus on the lyrics, so I can do them on a shoestring budget. The one I’m going to show you today didn’t cost me anything but my time to produce.

 
Working with video again has also reminded me about the fact that no knowledge and nothing we learn to do is ever wasted. If we are so interested in something that we take time to learn all we can about the subject, there is always a reason why we want that knowledge. It may not be obvious immediately and, I have asked myself many times why I keep training and learning stuff when nothing seems to come of it in a useful way. Getting back to editing a video this week, realizing that the knowledge is still there and that the love for the craft is still there too, has been absolutely wonderful. Especially since I now have a useful reason to dust off that knowledge and use it in a practical way again.

 
Before I go, I also want to mention that the Grand Award winner of SongDoor 2018 was Simon Finn, with whom I wrote the song “Before” a couple of years back. Simon is a very deserving winner and if you haven’t listened to his music yet, please do so on https://soundcloud.com/simonfinnsongwriter
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

An eye opening “out with the old…”

Is it still ok to wish people a happy new year? I suppose it is, since it’s still January, so “Happy New Year” everybody!

 
It has been three months, almost to the day, since I published a new blog about lyric writing. This is mainly because my life seems to be compartmentalised depending on the season, and the last quarter of the year is always put aside for my seasonal baking business. Then, when I have dug myself out of the last batch of biscuit dough, Christmas is upon us and after that I fall in to my yearly reoccurring January blues for a while. It normally takes until the last week in January before I feel capable of anything creative again.

 
Another reason for my silence has been that I have been running out of steam when it comes to keeping a positive attitude to my lyric writing. Yes, I still love writing, and I feel I’m progressing, but I find it difficult to see viable ways to get from a “happy” amateur writer, to someone who’s lyrics will be wanted by composers and singers. I just don’t know which way to turn to find a way to show the commercial music world that I exist.

 

This problem has become even more severe since I once and for all have closed the door on the competition that I have taken part in for five years now, and who, I felt, was a good barometer of where I was at with my writing. This year there have been too many strange things gong on within and around that particular competition for me to be able to take the competition seriously anymore on a professional level and as a sincere opportunity.

 
Don’t get me wrong, I collected two more semi-final places for my lyrics from them this year, which takes my tally up to 19 over the last five years. One was what they call a “Borderline finalist” and “seriously considered for the final”, but I really don’t care.
So, what is it that feels so dodgy then?

 
Well, I sent in two versions of one of my lyrics, because I made a mistake in my first attempt and sent in an earlier version than I had planned. There wasn’t much difference between the versions. Only one line had changed with three words. The first version was sent in early enough to be judged in the first session and got a place in the semis with seven points. The amended version was sent in on the last day of the whole competition and when the results finally arrived, I saw that it had been given five points and was nowhere near the semis. There were only three words difference between the versions and personally I felt the change has made the text better. I was very puzzled over this big difference of opinion, since the judges hadn’t changed. That is until a pattern started to emerge when I compared notes with other competitors. Then it started to show that most entries going in on the day of the deadline had been given a score of five points. The most plausible explanation was that no judge had ever looked at those entries.
After the results were announced there has also been other unexplained occurrences. The winners haven’t been sent any prizes yet or even been told what they should be. When one winner asked about this on the competitions FB-forum page, the thread was deleted instead of answered.

 
The winner in the jazz and blues category is still to be announced, two months after the rest of the results have been sorted. This year when entering this specific competition, the entries were automatically put in to various other competitions too with “grand” names. Well, one of the additional competitions cost an extra £3 if we wanted to enter, but they made it sound like a bargain. The only thing is that however many times someone have asked for names on judges, prizes etc in these extra competitions there has been no real answers.

 
The sad truth is starting to become clear. It looks like it is the same people that has invented these additional “opportunities” to make the opportunity look more attractive to take part in, in the first place. There is no “small print”, rules and regulations to be found anywhere, not one single judge is named and the home pages and FB pages for these competitions look very dead. I just checked the FB page for one of them and the last status is from September on a page that all in all has five updates. Still, this is the forum we as competitors have been asked to follow for updates. It’s all a big joke really, and there won’t ever again be any more entries from me into this particular place.
Am I angry? No. In many ways believing in this competition and the hope of some day become really successful in it has been willing me on and made me want to become a better writer. That in itself has been worth the money I have poured into the competition. I also truly believe that this competition started out with good intentions, but that greed finally has taken over. They used to have an awards gala every year where the winners got their prizes. There used to be a CD made with the winning songs. There used to be a “Grand Award Winner” that used to get a day in the studio with a famous producer etc. These prizes have little by little disappeared, to the point that the winners this year haven’t even been contacted by the competition organisers after the results were announced. And, as I said earlier, no prizes have been sent out.

 

But no, I’m not angry. Just disillusioned once more, and I won’t bother printing out my certificates this year, because my semi-finalist placements aren’t worth the ink I would waste. It is a competition that plays on people’s hopes and vanity but with no clout at al out in the real world, and the titles they award have the same value as monopoly money. So, for me this year has started with a really eye-opening “out with the old”.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

Never be the same

How many out there actually write most of their stuff sitting in front of a computer? And when I say write I don’t mean putting the words down on paper. To me that’s not writing. It’s just transferring the finished product onto paper; the final non-creative stage of the writing process.

I did none of that on the Friday just gone, but according to my way of seeing things I was writing all day long. Let me tell you about my Friday in detail, and trust me, there will be a point to this in the end.

On Friday I prepared lunches and cakes for morning and afternoon coffee for a two-day course that started on Saturday. Since I was scheduled to work at my normal job outside our home both Saturday and Sunday, I needed to prepare as much as possible of the course food on Friday. So, I made a Russian mushroom soup with cream and garlic, to be served with garlic bread. Delicious, if I may say so myself. To give the people on the course a choice, I also made a tomato soup a’ la Närpes. A Town close to where I come from in Finland. That soup is to be served with olives and feta cheese, and yes, I find this one delicious too.

When that was done, I made an onion pie to be served with baby potatoes and a fresh salad today, Sunday. After that I started to concentrate on desserts. I baked four dozen mince pies for Saturday and for afternoon coffee I made a chocolate swiss roll that I filled with banana and cream and I also covered with cream. Between doing the cooking and baking I’ve also washed some clothes and vacuumed the house, walked the dog etc.

You would be forgiven if you now were wondering what this can possibly have to do with lyric writing? Well, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a photo of a painting from a friend’s first art exhibition. I’ve seen the painting many times before and I absolutely love it. It is beautiful, sad, strong with both darkness and hope shining through in the motif. Anyway, seeing it again, I immediately got a twinge of an idea for a song lyric inspired by the painting, but that was all. The twinge made me believe there could be a good idea developing, but I also knew I had to leave that little seed of an idea to do its own thing. I couldn’t talk about it or even consciously think about it. I had to give it time.

On Friday while cooking, which is another creative outlet I truly love, the idea from that little twinge started to develop. First, I got the name of the song, and it will be called “Never be the same”. I also realised it will be a Christmas song, which surprised me, but in a happy way. After that I got the frame work and after that possible sentences of the chorus started to appear.

I suppose this writing process started, because I was so happy and relaxed whilst getting on with my cooking and baking, so I had time to communicate with my subconscious where the seed of this song lyric had been quietly taking form for a couple of weeks.

It probably won’t be that long before I can show you the finished product, because my writing process is quite quick most of the time after I have got this far.

I just wanted to share this with you, because what I’ve just describes is what I like most about creative writing. It is the weird and wonderful ways a story just appear when I’m in the middle of doing things that seem to be as far from writing as they possibly could be.

It may not be the “recommended” way of writing, but hey, it works for me and I will continue to write stories and song lyrics inside my mind while multitasking with one domestic chore or another, for as long as it works. If it means sitting less hours in front of a screen it can only be good in my book.

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Christmas lyrics

I know, I know. It is only October and I have just mentioned the C-word. I will have made a lot of people shout out in disgust by doing so, but it can’t be helped. I have many reasons to start planning and thinking of Christmas in October. First of all, I have a small, seasonal home baking business where I bake Nordic biscuits which I sell in boxes containing 56 biscuits and cookies of seven different kinds. I need to start to bake these (I will need more than 3000) next week. This is something I’ve done for almost a decade now and when I start to bake I also start play all my Christmas CDs. I’m convinced my biscuits taste better if they are accompanied by Christmas music while in the oven.

 
A second reason for me to think about Christmas well in advance, is that I have got family and close friends in Finland and I need to plan and prepare my parcels for them well in advance, so they reach their destination in time for the big day. So, as you can see, my head has to get into Christmas mode about now to avoid unnecessary stress.

 
I am a big fan of Christmas music, and I think I am so very lucky to have been brought up with Christmas songs that have both Swedish and English lyrics. A lot of Swedish Christmas songs have been translated from English, but there are also plenty of original Christmas songs written in Swedish. I have been collecting Christmas music on both LP and CD for as long as I can remember, and I am always on the lookout for more unusual Christmas songs or unusual arrangements of the more well-known songs. My dream or should I say, one of my goals as a lyric writer is to write enough brand-new song lyrics on the theme of Christmas, to make up a Christmas CD. It’s not an easy task, because most things to do with Christmas has been said and described so many times before in such beautiful ways, that it will be very hard to find a unique spin on the theme. So far, I have only managed one Christmas song lyric and it was written in 2013, which was my first year as a lyric writer. I gave the lyrics the name; “The modern way”. It reached the semi-finals in UK Songwriting Contest in 2015. Again, it was a lyric that divided the jury in England and America. In Great American Song Contest, they didn’t like that I had named my song “The Modern Way” and then never used the title in any kind of hook or Chorus. I can totally see their point and today this lyric is sitting I in a file on my computer that says, “Needs working on”. So far, I haven’t found a good solution for a change, even if I wouldn’t write like this anymore. Maybe I will leave this particular lyric to stand proud as the semi-finalist it is and concentrate on a new seasonal lyric instead. I will leave you with my first ever Christmas lyric, so you can judge for yourself, if you feel like it.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 
The modern way 
I planned to write a brand-new song,
which painted Christmas well.
It was to have a take so new,
that you could really tell.

I wasn’t gonna write one word,
describing starry eyes.
But circling around the core
was ending up in lies.

Chorus
Christmas
A multitude of joy for over 2000 years.
Christmas
A time when inner peace is overcoming our fears.
Christmas
A good excuse to make a lonely stranger a friend.
Christmas
A gift of love to carry through and keep until the end.

Bridge
Santa, toys and sparkling trees, abundance all around.
Our modern way to celebrate the love that once was found,
inside that tiny stable, one quiet starry night.
A love that’s kept us going, brought peace to every fight.

The world is very different now,
from what it was before.
We celebrate in modern ways
not better, but much more.
We eat and drink and buy and sell,
for months before “The Day”.
As long as we remember why,
who’ll judge the modern way?

Chorus
Christmas
A multitude of joy for over 2000 years.
Christmas
A time when inner peace is overcoming our fears.
Christmas
A good excuse to make a lonely stranger a friend.
Christmas
A gift of love to carry through and keep until the end.
Åsa Sandberg©2013

How to choose a subject or story

I like getting asked questions, that makes me find out more about how I react and why I react as I do. Yesterday, I was asked if I would be prepared to change the angle of a song lyric of mine and have the song the lyrics features in, redone and reproduced with that new angle. I have heard brilliant productions form the place the friend that asked me, is using, so obviously I would have been curious to find out how the result from a production like that would sound, but still I never even considered the change. This particular song lyric is so very special to me and I know that it can be interpreted in many different ways already, the way it is written, so changing it is not an option for me. The only change I could do, and feel both the song and lyric could gain from is to add a bridge, but we’ll see what happens.

 
Sometimes you must just follow your heart and even more importantly your gut. I can still remember how I felt when this particular lyric came about. It just appeared, late one evening and what I wrote about has become even more important to me during the last twelve months, so to change the whole meaning of my lyric would be absolutely impossible. Even the thought of it made me feel sick in my gut. I did change the chorus quite a bit when the lyrics became a song, and I can totally see why those changes were necessary. I can also see how those changes made the chorus much better, but that is not the same thing as changing what the story is about deep down.

 
I sometimes wonder if I would need to use my head more than I do when writing, so I would write lyrics more user friendly for the business. I have already reined myself in an awful lot since I started. Back then I was out to prove that it is possible to take any subject matter and make it into a popular song. I still feel it should be like that, but I have also learned that in reality that isn’t so. Still, if it is a lyric, where I know the words really touches people, I will stand my ground, because if the words in a song can move people to tears in the right way, it must be right whatever the story. This also means it will work as a song in some genre. Maybe not for the younger listeners, but I’m not sure I’m able to write lyrics for that generation anymore anyway. Some things maybe accidently written sometimes, but not consciously or planned. I can only draw from my own experiences through the years when writing and logically that means that my kind of writing and my way of thinking should appeal better with middle aged people.

 
Going back to this particular lyric I was asked if I would consider changing, I have to say I am so grateful for the experience the collaboration gave me the first time around. It forced me to accept that changing my lyrics can be a good thing and this started a totally new journey for me from where I now have changed a lot of my old lyrics and, in my opinion, made them better thanks to that change. None of the changes have been about changing the story though. I’ve just changed words. While writing this, I’m realising that I don’t think I ever would change the angle or storyline in my lyrics, because most of them come from my gut and personally I never override what my gut tells me to something my head wants to do. At least not when writing. I much prefer to write a new lyric with the story line in question if that ever would be the case.

 
I don’t know how you, out there, choose your stories when writing lyrics. Do you just write from your gut or do you let your head rule what comes out on the paper? Which ever way, I wish you all a good, creative week.

 

 

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Remembering “The kids from Fame”

When I started this blog, I gave myself permission to now and again indulge in my personal favourites when it comes to music. So far, I haven’t done too much walking down memory lane, but today I will stride a few blocks down that specific, pink tinted path, and I would be very happy if you decide to join me.

 
It doesn’t happen very often, but now and again, you are exactly at the right age, at the right time and have the right interests to become totally hooked into a specific TV programme. This happened to me in the early 80s with the series “The kids from Fame”. The series went on for five years (six seasons) and I think I saw most of the episodes. “You got big dreams. You want fame. Well fame costs, and right here is where you start paying. In sweat!” For a few years that sentence blared out of the speaker (note speaker, not speakers) on the telly at home on Sunday evenings. I remember my dad watching too. My dad and I shared most things that had to do with music and he was never scared to delve into the music from my generation even if he himself, among many other genres, was a Sinatra and Bing Crosby man. I also bought all the sound track LPs that were released with the songs from the series, LPs which I totally wore out.

 
A few years back I stumbled upon the series again on a TV channel concentrating on nostalgia, but after having watched half an episode I decided that time had past both me and the series by, and I preferred to keep my involvement with “The kids from fame” safely anchored inside my memory to the time when it was all perfect.

 
The wonderful thing with music is that it rarely goes past its sell by date. This is true for the music from “The kids from Fame” too. Yes, some of the songs I got my fill for my whole life time just because I played them so much back then, but most of them I still love. This is especially true of the lyrics, which I surprisingly still know by heart. I will select some of my favourites that I feel can still hold their own some thirty years later, and share them with you here today.

 
I start with “Life is a celebration” written by Rick Springfield. I like his version too, but I heard it with the kids from Fame first. I love the lyrics in the first verse:

 
I was lost on a winding road
I thought that life had nothing left to give
Then you came and showed me that just to live
Was the greatest gift of all

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KyE_28H5oQ&index=1&list=PL27938203EC0C548A

 

My second choice is a song called “Songs”, and the reason I’ve chosen it, is that it so perfectly explains why I love music and songs so much. The song is written by Dennis Scott and in the TV series Jimmy Osmond made a guest appearance and performed the song together with Erica Gimpel (Coco in the TV-series). I have, on purpose, put in a clip of the song that starts with the intro of the TV series because those first notes still give me goose bumps when remembering the joy the 14 year old version of me felt, in having yet another 50 minute episode of TV-gold in front of me.

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKGW1OeuMhg&list=RDLDAOM3KKJjE&index=19

 

 

The third song I’ve chosen is called “Lay back and be cool” written by Enid Levine. I’ve chosen it, not only because I like to song, but also because it is performed by my favourite in the TV series; the late, great Gene Anthony Ray, who was one of the few cast members to be involved both in the film Fame from 1980 and later the TV series. As a teenager I couldn’t take my eyes of the character Leroy Johnson and watching this video now, I realise that some things never change. Gene Anthony Ray was a brilliant dancer who oozed with charisma. Enjoy!

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEDln4g6KFA

 

 

My last choice in this self-indulgent blog is a song called “Starmaker” written by Bruce Roberts and Carol Bayer Sager. I’ve chosen to finish with this song because most of the “kids” play a part in it and both the video and the song shows the essence of what the TV-series was about; hope, dreams, togetherness, support for each other etc. It was just perfect telly once upon a long time ago!

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTM1Mo6IVR4

 

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

No pure intentions

If, like me, you are a person that likes the journey of self-discovery it’s strange how it is somehow never ending. When you think you have explored every nook and cranny, every dirt road, every cul-de-sac inside yourself and feel you’ve got your answers, then it starts again. Nothing explains the inside journey better than the illustration of the onion. You peel layer after layer, but somehow there is always more. What I’m realising at the moment is that even though I may be fooled into thinking that the issues I will have to deal with closer to the core are simpler, because they inevitably look smaller, they are much denser and harder to get hold of to peel off. I think they also hold all those things I haven’t been ready for earlier in my development, so subconsciously I have pushed them away, creating these dense layers that I’m now starting to consciously be aware off.

It was actually yesterday, when writing my other blog https://overweight-thoughts.blog/ that my next layer came into vision for me. I was talking about how I always have been putting so much pressure on myself to achieve brilliance in one creative area of my life or another, that I never really took into consideration that I may not be capable of such heights, so I now feel on the brink of serious exhaustion. In my blog yesterday I challenged myself, saying that maybe it was time for me to accept mediocracy from myself? Not saying that I wouldn’t continue to try my hardest, but maybe it was time for me to start to accept that if what I send out into the world to get judged, comes back to me as an okay attempt instead of an exceptional one, this should also be good enough for me.

This thought felt very uncomfortable to me yesterday, and it doesn’t sit any better with me this morning, but at least I have become aware of something inside me that needs resolving. My next step is to ask why I am so driven? Why is brilliance so important to me? I know I have a tendency to expect a lot from people around me too, but I’m always hardest on myself.

While I was out walking my dog Columbo this morning, I finally was able to admit to myself what is the fuel that drives me, and why it won’t allow me to let go of the dream of one day achieving something that, in my own eyes, is good enough. Sadly, my reasons for wanting to achieve something worth recognising in bigger circumstances aren’t pure or noble at all. Although the fuel that drives me is very pure. It is a pure hate and anger that has built up inside me for the last five decades. “I’ll show them!” is the sentence that is my drive. “I’ll show them all”. It seems like I have put all the anger and hate which has developed inside me, starting from the lack of support and understanding of my creativity at home as a child; all my childhood bullies; all the people that have at some time in my life betrayed or lied to me in a big way into this fuel. All of this I have buried inside a distillery living inside my soul and from that I draw this high-octane fuel built on unresolved hate and anger.

Granted, it’s not the worst thing in the world to do; aiming all my collective hurts and wounds that I have had time to gather in my life, towards something as positive as creativity. My problem is that the longer the hurts have been bubbling away in my private distillery, the purer and higher the octane, the bigger my personal achievement will have to be in order to satisfy me in my strive to “show them”.

A lot of “them” I probably don’t even remember anymore, but I remember enough for it to be difficult for me to change over to a more environmentally friendly fuel for my creative driving force. The pure, hate fuelled stuff at the moment seems to be what’s needed to keep the fire burning inside me.

Accepting this, I also have to accept that I’m most certainly steering straight towards a head collision with my next paradox in life. I’ve learned the hard way that most things I really want in life, I have to let go of or set free, before they can be mine. I won’t lie to you; this realisation makes me angry. I’m not sure I am capable of getting rid of my hate filled fuel, that has been driving me for so long, but I am pretty sure that I won’t produce anything that I personally will accept as good enough creatively, while my main driving force is “I will show them”. I also know that if I can’t get to a point where I can accept my work on whatever level it lives on, I will soon hit a wall of pure and serious exhaustion, and if that happens, I won’t have much choice in the matter anymore anyway.

They say, we will never be given anything in life that we are not strong enough to cope with. I have just been shown my next layer in my personal onion. Hopefully I will be able to peel it off and come out on the other side of it with a capability of accepting my creativity just as it is, without any demands on the end result being different or better. It will just be an extension of me and my life experiences but without having to be presented as a product that needs to “show anybody” anything.

This won’t happen overnight, but the chance of it happening at all is much bigger today than it was yesterday, because today I’ve been given the awareness to be able to start working on my next step of self-development, which is a very humbling feeling that fills me with gratitude.

Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

Looking for a sign

Last week I wrote about being at peace with my lyric writing journey. This hasn’t changed, even though I’m prone to sudden mood swings, but apart from my lyric writing I am at a loss when it comes to figuring out what to do with most things in my life.

 
I have told you that, since a couple of months back, I am working two jobs to keep afloat. This new situation has put me in a catch 22 situation, because without keeping both jobs for a very long and foreseeable future, I will sink financially. On the other hand, by keeping the jobs for a very long and foreseeable future I will deny everything inside me that is me, which sooner or later will kill me no matter what my financial status is. To begin with it will kill me on every other level than physically, i.e. it will zap my energy, kill me emotionally, it will numb my mind, my spirit and my soul will starve. When it has gone that far, my divine spark will dim down too. There won’t be much point walking around like the zombie I will be, at that point.

 
Why do I feel my future is looking this dark? Well, after only seven weeks in this new situation, I am forced to leave more and more of my creative work behind, just to have the energy to go to work and do things that need doing at home. Some of you may have noticed that this blog already has started to suffer a bit. Last week I only managed one blog post, because I have been too tired to find any kind of inspiration to write.

 
For most people, two jobs wouldn’t be a problem and for most people continuing with creative things after work wouldn’t be a problem either. Sadly, I’m not most people. I belong to the 20% in the world that lives with the title Highly Sensitive Person HSP https://hsperson.com/ and therefore the situation I’m in is slowly destroying my life.

 
I feel totally cornered and all I can do is look for a sign of some sort to help me out of this predicament. I would never walk out of any of the jobs, because the world doesn’t look kindly upon people quitting jobs needed to keep them paying the bills. In all fairness, I wouldn’t look kindly upon myself if I did. Sadly, there may come a time when the choice isn’t mine anymore if this is how I feel after seven weeks. In what shape will I be in after twelve months? How much of the real me will still be around?

 
A few years ago, I wrote a lyric about how it can hurt when people only see what they want to see when they look at you. Anything inside you that frightens them or is too different from themselves, people tend to ignore. This is fine if we are talking about strangers. Less so if we talk friends or family. At the moment the lyrics also fit in with my biggest wish; that someone out there would recognise my strengths which can be in any of my creative ventures, i.e. graphic designing, baking, writing etc. so that I could be able to make a living from something that vitalises me, instead of what is happening now and is slowly killing me.

 
The lyrics is called “Love the real me”.

 
Take care until next time and Happy Writing!
Åsa

 

Love the real me!
I’ve been a big disappointment,
in every which way to you.
That is what happens when trying
to change what is red into blue.

You want me to fit your settings;
So what, if I lose my wings?
As long as I live your picture;
Who cares if my soul fails to sing?

Chorus
You say that you know me
but don’t have a clue.
You never took time out
to find what was true.
I’d so much to offer,
but outside your mould.
You saw what you chose to,
and missed all I hold!
Why couldn’t you love the real me?

It would have been good to tell you
of all the dreams that I’ve had.
But somehow, they were to different,
your fear made me mute and so sad.

Chorus
You say that you know me
but don’t have a clue.
You never took time out
to find what was true.
I’d so much to offer,
but outside your mould.
You saw what you chose to,
and missed all I hold!
Why couldn’t you love the real me?
©Åsa Sandberg 2014