songwriting Archive

STEAL THIS STUFF: What Writers Can Learn from Over the Rhine

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Okay Writers. If you’ve been tucked safely away from Great Music over the last two decades, you may be new to the “aggressively beautiful” music of Over the Rhine. Today, the husband/wife duo Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist are invading my column, not just because they’re critically acclaimed songwriters—but because,

Writers: Go and Sin Some More.

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By the time you read this, I’ll be in London, having just given a paper on my (very erotic) manipulations of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry. (More on that in a minute.) Meanwhile, in my songwriter life, I’m preparing to record some songs that leap beyond the safe bounds of

My One-Handed Novel; Or, How I am Learning to Be Both a Parent and a Writer

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Despite sometimes-embarrassing attempts at guitar, drums, and bass in my youth, I’m no musician. But if I’m honest, some of the best things I’ve written lately have not been stories or novel chapters, but songs. These are all a capella, all very short, and all written with a very