Monday, July 24, 2017

Working Writers: Songwriting With Soldiers

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          Don’t ever doubt the power of words—the power to hurt; the power to help; and the power to heal.

          Most of us have heard, said, written, and read words that hurt. We know that power. No need to dwell on it.

But what about the words which help and heal? We should dwell on them.

Several songwriters donate their time to soldiers, mostly with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as part of a healing program called Songwriting With Soldiers. It’s also a PBS show entitled In Their Own Words: Songwritering With Soldiers.

Over 2.5 million soldiers have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. One in five suffers from PTSD.

To help these soldiers, songwriter and singer Darden Smith founded this program several years ago. He wanted to help soldiers tell their stories and, since he is a songwriter, turn those stories into songs.

In this program, soldiers and their spouses go to a weekend retreat. The soldiers meet with the songwriters in the great room with a huge fireplace or at picnic tables outside or even walking through the woods.

Smith said that the most important thing is to listen to the soldiers. Ask questions, but let them tell their stories in their own words. At some point the songwriter picks up on a theme or a phrase. The two then start collaborating on a song.

In 48 hours, 12 songs were recorded and then played for the group along with their spouses. In this event, the wives of the soldiers also wrote a song with a songwriter about having different husbands come home than the ones that left.

People were crying as the songs were played. Smith watched the face of the soldier as he sang their song. He saw a burden lift off the man as he sang. When he finished, the Smith burst into tears knowing he had helped change this brave soldier’s life.

The power of words in action. Amazing!

My word count for the week of July 16-22 was 8,939.

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