It is the writer's privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart.
I've worked with kids a lot over the years: as a children's director at a church, as a homeschool co-op teacher, as the founder of a camp which encourages kids to use their creative gifts, and of course as a mom. I've written a dozen or so kids' musicals as well. But this experience of teaching kids about my favorite thing in the world, songwriting, sparked something new in me that I knew could be incredibly fun and very challenging.
I enlisted the help of my friend, Sue C. Smith, and we started working on a songwriting book for kids. It would take about 9 months to come up with a final draft, and I'm sure there were moments when we both wondered if we were actually going to finish. Sue did an amazing job illustrating the book, which was also a new adventure for her, but she tackled the job with such creativity and excellence that I hope she keeps at it!
Throughout this journey, I've again wrestled a lot with the whole idea of why I write songs. I tried to think like a kid again and remember why I even started writing songs in the first place. I recalled my first few songs and how good it felt to create something that seemed to express my thoughts and emotions in the only way that made sense to me. I remembered singing those songs for people and watching them actually be moved by what I had to say. And I remember the year or so when I basically had no voice, due to the unfortunate trauma I suffered as a result of vocal cord surgery. In that long and agonizing season, writing was literally all I had....there wasn't even any singing...only the songs.
It's been so good to go back and remember those moments, before cuts and publishing deals and royalties (or lack thereof) began to make it more difficult to see the joy, the fun, and the magic of songwriting. Being a grownup songwriter can be tough. So I hope this whole book-writing adventure can continue to remind me in the years to come that writing like a kid can be a very sweet thing. Kids want to make things. They want to be heard. And sometimes a song is the best way, maybe the only way, they know how to create something beautiful and important. Something to move people and make them listen.
This book is my way of encouraging them to write, and to keep writing. Because I think songwriting, and more importantly songwriters, are pretty cool.