This is a blog about writing and passion. It’s the result of a few e-mail exchanges I had this past weekend with a new blogger friend. She got me thinking. BTW, all the lyrics included in this blog are excerpts from songs written by Taylor Swift. What does Taylor Swift have to do with passion and writing? Well, as my father used to say, hold your hat.
First, right away I will get this over with. I have to admit it. I am not ashamed of it. I am smitten with Taylor Swift. Yes, I know I am old enough to practically be her grandfather. No, that does not make me a dirty old man. I think she is a compelling artist who last year proved at the young and tender age of 22 that passion leads to good writing and good writing is what good song making is all about.
I don’t know about you
But I’m feeling 22
…Everything will be all right
If we just keep dancing like we’re 22
Sure, there are plenty of gimmicky songs, including some of Taylor’s, that top the charts (Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe comes to mind), but they are often one-hit wonders or part of a lucky few that break through the barrier. Taylor Swift, on the other hand, has a solid track record. Her prolific collection of self-authored songs speaks—make that sings—volumes about her unique talent. Among the many awards she has won are six Grammys and eleven American Music Awards. She has sold over 22 million albums. For those who prefer e-versions, her songs made up over 51 million digital downloads in the U.S. as of last year. In 2012 she donated more money to charities than any other performer.
For the past decade while you and I have been doing whatever it was we’ve been doing, Taylor Swift has been sitting alone in her room thinking intimate teenage thoughts based on her teenage experiences—just like most of us did when we were that age.
We are alone with our changing minds
We fall in love ‘til it hurts or bleeds or fades in time
The difference is that she wrote her thoughts down in ways that they made lyrical sense when she blended the words with the strums on her guitar. She spent a good ten years honing these skills, maturing her voice and becoming a true writer. For that, you can throw all the bubblegum at her you want, but when it comes to achievement for a now 23-year-old, I find it hard to name a match.
My new blogging friend, who started me thinking about all this, told me she has written nine novels—her first when she was a teenager. She’s only 21 now. 21 for cryin’ out loud! She told me she has a passion for writing. I can’t begin to deal with that kind of volume. I’ve written one novel, my first, in my mid 60’s and I’ll probably complete another one this year. I will never catch up with my new friend.
She wears high heels
I wear sneakers.
She’s cheer captain
And I’m on the bleachers.
Taylor Swift is in the news a lot. She’s a big star. She’s young, pretty, very talented, very smart and very rich. It is no surprise that her boyfriends, who come and go frequently, are the topic of many of her songs. She gets poked fun at for this. But why shouldn’t she write about her relationships? All writers draw from their own experiences. And can you think of anything that says passion more than young love? For Taylor Swift, let’s face it, as rich as she is, true love is the one thing she cannot buy. For her, it is a work in progress. We get updates every now and then in the form of a new song. Now, I ask you, isn’t that so much more fun—and passionate—than reading an annual report?
Hey Stephen, I could give you fifty reasons why I should be the one you choose
All those other girls, well they’re beautiful but would they write a song for you?
Passion is a powerful thing. You cannot write without it. It steadfastly pushes you along and, depending on how full your tank is, I suppose you can cover a lot of ground in a short time. What is amazing about my new blogging friend and Taylor Swift is that their passion blossomed at a very young age. The world should expect big things from these people. Think about the work they’ve produced so far. Imagine how much stronger they’ll grow in the years ahead…assuming they don’t lose the passion.
When you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You’re gonna believe them
And when you’re fifteen
Feeling like there’s nothing to figure out
Well, count to ten, take it in
This is life before you know who you’re gonna be
At my stage in life, I pretty much know who I’ve been. There won’t be any significant changes for who I’m gonna be. I may not have the energy and the optimism of a young lady in her 20’s, but I do share the passion that I suppose makes all writers akin. How much passion is in my tank? Not sure. I guess it depends on how well my body keeps up with my mind…and vise-versa. I think I’ll be all right for a good time to come. I just need to keep dancing like I’m 22.
All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title.