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Bro Betts, Writing Connected By Music, on The Table Read

Written by Bro Betts

I believe history will show a commonality among people in the year 2020 who found themselves with a different kind of time on their hands. Like many, I found myself writing one day with abandon in a release of thoughts and memories.

With fear that questioning my own actions would spoil the moment and deflate my ease and confidence at the keyboard, I kept on through a thousand words or so. I took a quick look and kept on. I romped through paragraphs then pages in a prose that is my voice alone. I was in the present with my joy at looking back and knowing I had a future on these pages.

Writing A Book

Over a period of days, still not questioning my actions or motivations, a style started to form and I latched on to it and kept going. I was going to write a book!

My stories would be another aspect of the commonality I now know was happening the world over. People are reflecting and sharing. Looking inward as a natural response to all that was happening that year. Speaking out too.

My stories would be in the “slice of life” genre that I enjoy so much in lyrics, print and movies.  They would be true as possible, taking into account one’s ever fading memory and, they would be connected by another universal commonality, music. It was a moment of realization to admit I wanted to share my words in print but, I have always wanted to share music.

My Style

I knew that my tales would be all over the place because my life was all over the place literally and figuratively. A quick read back confirmed that. This would be the style I insisted to myself was OK. A proof read by a trusted friend generated the quip that some scenes in my writing are like a Go-Pro on a puppy’s head. Still OK.

At least it started out that way and of course things develop, you grow as a person and as a writer but, the point to me as an artist is to capture those moments fearlessly without worries about its intrinsic value to yourself or society. That’s not the job of an artist.

Connecting To Music

Questions loomed large though. Much of my life is about being a musician. The book is turning out to be about music and musicianship. Even the future fiction is much about musicians. But I have a long standing peeve about music in books. How it is described and mentioned. I do my best to diplomatically address that right up front in my introduction.

In one of my favorite books “a piece of the world” by Christina Kline Baker, there is a passage early in the book that reads;

“Mother sings while she works. Her favorite song, “Red Wing” is about an Indian maiden pining for a brave who’s gone to battle, growing more despondent as time passes. Tragically, her true love is killed:”

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Words and Music

It is here in the story that a written tradition is about to occur again. It will be among the countless iterations of writers striving to portray a song in words only. The words are beautiful. There are telltale signs of the meter and cadence from the shape of the phrases. The size and rhyme of the words and their placement reveal a rhythm. But, is that music?

I continue to suspend any disbelief in this story because Kline’s writing is leading me on a journey through a world she has masterfully described. I feel I am meeting the famous Christina Olson and the artist who made her famous, Andrew Wyeth. The painting “Christina’s World” has intrigued from a very early age. So too does Kline’s book. From page to mind to soul, I’m able to walk up that grass hill in Wyeth’s painting to the clapboard house and hear the creak of the screen door on a warm summer day in Maine. But, I can’t hear the melody of that song.

Creating Writing Connected By Music

Nor the tempo or the key or the voice and, as a musician I am somewhat distraught. I can create it in my head or mentally fill it in but, what am I doing taking such liberties with an established piece of art that is that song. Or any other presented in this way. I would no sooner fix the crooked smile on the Mona Lisa. My point is, in so few words, music is indescribable

When music is performed, it is like reading a great passage of literature. Time can be brought to a standstill. Space is malformed, worlds are created and we are transported. When music and literature are at an intersection like in a Venn diagram, something special must be done to make them the equal partners they are. That is why my book about music includes music in real time    

In this case, “to the cloud” has eleven vignettes or full songs or recordings. Most of which are designed to propel the arc of songwriting by bringing the reader in on the craft and construction of the song “Do you remember” all the while relating stories about the musical life of this musician over the many years.

I chose QR codes because it’s the perfect format for the omnipresent entity that is the modern day phone/computer devise. Be sure though that this is not a novelty or a gimmick but wholeheartedly a BOOK. A book with a special devise for enhancing the stories of music.

The source of my inspiration for this book, after family, is music. Thanks to modern technology it is at last…. describable.

Find more from Bro Betts:

Find me on Facebook at Bro Betts Jr

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