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  • Writer's picturecaitlyncallery9

Rhythm and Roots and Song Lyrics

I plot my stories in great detail before I sit down to write them. For me, this makes the actual writing much easier and reduces the number of drafts and the severity of editing needed. (I know other writers don't write like this, but it works for me.)

However, even working like this, there are times when writing my latest chapter can seem like wading through treacle. Like the statue by Anthony Gormley, I am up to my knees and can't move on.

The action I've planned doesn't seem right. The characters can't find the words to say. They don't know what they're doing anymore, and quite frankly, neither do I.

On these occasions, I find it helps to leave the story for a while and do something else.

Sometimes, I use this space to declutter my sock drawer. If my brain is so overloaded it’s turning to mush, that can be the ideal thing.

Other times, I might go down to the sea front for some fresh air. Very invigorating, and great for pushing the cobwebs away.

But more often, I find it helps to write something completely different. Something that isn't my novel, or anything like, but which forces me to exercise the little grey cells just as much.

Lately, I’ve been writing song lyrics. I don't write music, alas. Nor do I know anyone who does so, although I live in perpetual hope of meeting someone.

But lyrics? That I can do.

Which is where Karen Rollason comes in. Karen (pictured) hosts the Rhythm and Roots Show on a Friday morning, from 11am to 1pm on Enjoy Radio. ( The show is repeated on Tuesday evenings from 10pm to 12am.

As well as playing great music, Karen has two features every week which I find fascinating. The first is on genealogy. What she has to say is informative and entertaining, giving insights not just into names and dates for our predecessors, but also information on their lives, the things they did, where they lived and what they worked at.

The other regular feature I enjoy is “The Writing Prompt.” Each week, Karen plays a song and asks people to write something inspired by it – a piece of flash fiction (a self-contained piece up to 250 words long.) Or you can write a poem, or, as I do, song lyrics. She also gives you a word which must be incorporated into your piece of writing. For instance, one week the prompt was the song, “Windmills of your Mind,” and the word to be included was “Willpower.”

The following week, Karen reads out pieces that she has received. Why not listen in and try to write something?

Here's something I wrote in response to the prompt above. Like all my other song lyrics, you can find it on my Song Bay page. If you write music, feel free to see what you can do with it.


Round and round and up and down

The gallopers go by,

A journey of a thousand moments

Is travelled in a lie.

For all we think we’re moving on,

We end up right where we belong.

Tinny music pours its sound

Out of tune, and off key.

A herald to our true opponents:

The souls of you and me.

For all we think we’re moving on,

In truth, we couldn’t be more wrong.

My galloper moves on round,

Yours chases, far too slow.

If I hide, can I be sure I’m found?

It’s something I can’t know.

For all we think we’re moving on,

The end is where it was begun.

Round and round and up and down,

Fairground music in my head,

Up and down and round and round,

I can’t remember why I fled.

I chase you and you chase me

And the music plays off key.

Is this how it’s supposed to be?

The carousel slows on down,

And I should try to run.

Sheer willpower’s all that holds me now

The journey almost done.

For all we thought we had moved on,

We ‘ve come right back, where we belong.

Let new riders take our places,

For you and me, no more chases.

We let the gallopers move on,

And we stay here, where we belong.

Images: Carter's Steam Fair, and Bressingham Steam and Gardens.

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