Winners of the 2018 Spring Lyric Contest

SEMIFINALIST

Say a Little Prayer by Lisa Vincent, Fresno, CA
Ten Feet Tall by Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ
Man-Kind by Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ
Carry A Cross by Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ

AND THE 2018 SPRING WINNER IS:

First Place:: Ten Feet Tall by Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ See comments: https://wp.me/p5ky4B-32R

 

Thanks to Lyric Contest Director, Alexis Tapp, for these comments

 1st Place                                “  TEN  FEET  TALL “   Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ

V-1  HE SMOKED CIGARS AND ATE CANNED FISH IN THERE

         IT SMELLED LIKE HELL AND HE DIDN’T CARE     (*he said he didn’t care…)

         HE’D SAY IT TOOK LUCK TO START HIS TRUCK BUT IT NEVER LET HIM DOWN

(*that it took some luck to start the truck that never let him down)

AND UNTIL THE DAY HE PASSED AWAY IT WAS STILL AROUND

(* until the day he passed away, that truck was still around)

   V-2  HE WAS ALWAYS HELPING SOMEBODY (*someone  *by)DOING SOMETHING GOOD 

BUT HE WOULD NEVER ASK FOR HELP EVEN WHEN HE SHOULD

(*but he’d never ask for any help even when he should)

           HE DIDN’T MAKE MUCH NOISE (*and he) NEVER TRIED TO SHINE 

THE ONLY ACCOMPLISHMENTS HE BRAGGED ABOUT WERE MINE

(*the only things he bragged about was everything of mine)

CH:  GRANDPOP WAS TEN FEET TALL LIKE AN OAK TREE REACHING FOR THE SUN

EVERY BRANCH SO STRONG, HE GREW EVERY ONE

HE ONLY CAME UP TO MY SHOULDERS BUT I STILL LOOKED UP TO SEE

THE MAN THAT HE WAS, GRANDPOP WAS TEN FEET TALL TO ME

REWORKED: (*Grandpop seemed ‘bout ten feet tall….stood tall as a tree.

    His head just reached my shoulders, but I looked up to see

    The tallest man I ever knew…the kind I’d like to be.

    My Grandpop was a giant… He was ten feet tall to me.)

       

  V-3  HE WASN’T SO BIG (* His heighth was not impressive) AS FAR AS MEN (*might) GROW

          MAYBE FIVE FOOT (*five or) SIX. I DON’T REALLY KNOW

          HE (*Grandpop) WAS ALL SUBSTANCE… NOT MUCH ON PRETEND

A LITTLE OLD MAN A GIANT AMONGST MEN 

(* Even if a little small, he was a mighty man.)

   V-4   ENLISTED IN THE ARMY LOST A LEG IN THE WAR

(*enlisted in the army…a leg lost in the war)

WAS PROUD TO SERVE HIS COUNTRY, WISHED HE COULD HAVE DONE MORE

(*he proudly served his country and wanted to do more)

            WITH HIS THICK GLASSES, THERE WAS NOTHING HE COULDN’T SEE

(*He wore some real think glasses, but that’s not what made him see

That freedom is a precious gift, but that gift isn’t free.) 

HE SAW THAT FREEDOM, WAS NEVER REALLY FREE                 

CH:   Grandpop seemed ‘bout ten feet tall…stood tall as a tree.

          His head just reached my shoulders, but I looked up to see

          The tallest man I ever knew…the kind I’d like to be.

          My Grandpop was a giant…He was ten feet tall to me.)

I love the thoughts in this lyric. I’ve offered a lot of rewrite support here, because I feel this has so much potential and heart.I truly get your love and admiration for your Grandpop. the ideas and imagery are strong, the suggestions I offer are meant to allow the words to roll off the tongue more easily and to correct the meter issues.I recommend you always read your lyrics aloudmultiple times to see if what you’ve written sounds unforced and natural and that the meter isn’t compromised.I encourage you to continue to write a little every day. Then picked that piece up a week later and see if it still says what you wanted to say, but in a way that will show your work in its best light.

         “  MAN—KIND“.  Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ

           V-1  I GOT NO PROBLEM BEING A MAN

                    ALWAYS WAS AND I STILL AM

                     I CAN BE A MAN, AND BE KIND TOO

                     IF I’M A REAL MAN, THAT’S WHAT I DO

“ CHORUS DELIVERED HICK-HOP STYLE “

  CHORUS:  SINCE WHEN IS IT COOL TO ACT LIKE A FOOL

                      GET WITH THE PLAN ACT LIKE A MAN

                      REACH DEEP INSIDE SEE WHAT YOU FIND

                      OPEN YOUR MIND ALWAYS BE KIND

                      REACH OUT YOUR HAND ALWAYS BE KIND

                      DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR ALL OF MANKIND

         V-2  MANKIND COVERS A LOT’S OF GROUND

                  EVERYBODY FROM ALL AROUND

                  BEING KIND SHOULD BE EASY NEVER A CHORE

                  IF I ACTED WRONG BEFORE, I WON’T ANYMORE

                  

          V-3  IT DON’T HURT TO SAY GOODMORNING, SMILE OR WAVE

                  BEING KIND DOESN’T TAKE COURAGE OR ACTING BRAVE

                  YESTERDAY’S GONE, LEAVE THE PAST BEHIND

                   FROM NOW ON, LET’S ALL JUST BE KIND

  CHORUS:  SINCE WHEN IS IT COOL TO ACT LIKE A FOOL

                      GET WITH THE PLAN ACT LIKE A MAN

                      REACH DEEP INSIDE SEE WHAT YOU FIND

                      OPEN YOUR MIND ALWAYS BE KIND

                      REACH OUT YOUR HAND ALWAYS BE KIND

                      DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR ALL OF MANKIND

I would like to see other submissions with less emphasis on just rhyming for the sake of rhyming.  This seems forced.  I want to see soul without the instructional tone.  Look around to see an example of someone outside yourself whom you admire and try writing about them in free verse without regard to rhyme.  Then take those thoughts and tweak them and rearrange them to build a lyric.  I think you’ll find if you do this first, you’ll have a more expansive list of ideas to work from.  In this piece, you’ve written about potential, desirable qualities in a man, so use that to build a great song from the heart out. 

Song Title: Say a Little Prayer.         Lisa Vincent, Fresno, CA

Verse 1

Woke up late in this familiar hotel (Wake up late in a familiar hotel) *a is easier to say that this.

*Wake is present tense and brings the listener to the moment.

Throbbing head, yes I know it well     (Throbbing head, yeah, I know it well) *yeah is more casual & fits

Drank too much wine ‘cause I couldn’t deal  (Drank too much ‘cause I can’t deal) * smoother to leave out wine

& change tense again to can’t

I’ll do anything just not to feel    

What’s up head I can’t foretell

But gotta face the fear, so wish me well (Gotta face my fear, so wish me well) *leave out But & the &add my

Jump through this revolving door I don’t understand the revolving door here

Leaning into it ‘cause I want more

Chorus

Whirl and twirl around it goes

Where I’ll land God only knows

So I’ll make a wish on a 4 leaf clover

Say little prayer and turn it over

Whirl and twirl around life goes

There is strength in letting go

So I’ll make a wish on a 4 leaf clover

Say a little prayer, I got this sober

Verse 2

Open up the drapes for a guiding light

On this lack of luster life

Black and bruised but I can heal

‘Cause “it’s so nice just to be real”

So here I am in plain sight

Let down my guard, grab a hold and take flight

Drive right past that liquor store

Green light go ‘cause I want more

(Chorus)

Bridge

I saw her heart breaking

I felt my heart aching

Stop, these voices in my head I’m not getting any younger….

(Chorus)

I’ve made some suggestions for small changes in the first verse, however I recommend you rework the song and spend more time with it.  See if the lyric says what you want it to say from beginning to end.  Read it as if you’ve never heard the story before and need all the information. The bridge doesn’t seem to move the song or connect the first part of the song to the end, and you’ve introduced a new person into the story near the end, which, for me, seems unnecessary.  Finally, I recommend you read all your lyrics aloud multiple times to see if what you’ve written rolls off your tongue easily and naturally.  Does it sound like something you would say in conversation? Are you rhyming over substance?  I encourage you to write often and keep on writing and then rewriting. 

                                              “  CARRY  A  CROSS “   Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ

            V-1  WE START OUT CRAWLING, BEFORE WE LEARN TO WALK

                     JIBER JABER WORDS, ON OUR WAY TO TALK   

                      THERE WILL (*There’ll) BE JOY OF (*in) WINNING. AND FEELINGS OF LOSS

ROOM FOR CELEBRATION, AND TIME TO CARRY A CROSS

(* celebrating and dragging a cross)

 CHORUS:  CARRYING A CROSS, WE ALL GET OUR TURN

                      IT COMES IN MANY WAYS, A LESSON TO BE LEARNED 

                      I’LL FACE IT WHEN I HAVE TO, KNOW WHEN IT’S MY TIME

                      I WON’T COMPLAIN, SOME CROSSES ARE HEAVIER THAN MINE

              V-2  LIFE IS COMPLICATED, NO ONE SAID IT’S FAIR

                      YOU CAN’T OUTRUN FATE, IT CATCHES UP SOMEWHERE

                       LIVING CAN BE EASY, LOVING’S ALWAYS FUN                                                                        

                       HOLD ON TIGHT, THE RIDE GETS ROUGH FOR EVERYONE

 CHORUS:  CARRYING A CROSS, WE ALL GET OUR TURN

                     IT COMES IN MANY WAYS, A LESSON TO BE LEARNED  

                     I’LL FACE IT WHEN I HAVE TO, KNOW WHEN IT’S MY TIME

                     I WON’T COMPLAIN, SOME CROSSES ARE HEAVIER THAN MINE

    BRIDGE:  NO SIGNS LEAD THE WAY, LIFE’S SLIPPERY ROAD LIES LONG

                       NEVER SURE WHICH WAY TO GO, OR IF IT TURNS OUT WRONG

 CHORUS:  CARRYING A CROSS, WE ALL GET OUR TURN

                     IT COMES IN MANY WAYS, A LESSON TO BE LEARNED  

                     I’LL FACE IT WHEN I HAVE TO, KNOW WHEN IT’S MY TIME

                     I WON’T COMPLAIN, SOME CROSSES ARE HEAVIER THAN MINE

I’ve made some suggestions for small changes in the first verse, however I recommend you rework the song and spend more time with it.  See if the lyric says what you want it to say from beginning to end.  Read it as if you want a listener to be moved.  I would like to see this reworked with less emphasis on just rhyming for the sake of rhyming.  This seems forced.   

I want to see soul without the textbook overtone… perhaps more conversational.  Look around to see an example of someone outside yourself whom you admire and try writing about them in free verse without regard to rhyme.  Then take those thoughts and tweak them and rearrange them to build a lyric.  I think you’ll find if you do this first, you’ll have a more expansive list of ideas and words to work from.  In this piece, I believe you’ve written about something close to your heart, so use that to dig in and find some examples, some imagery, some of your heart, and then resubmit.  I look forward to seeing your revision.