My writing began at the same time that I picked up my guitar again after thirty years. I feel like there is a purpose behind everything I’m doing, even if I don’t know where it will lead.

If my blog were a book, I have wondered what the ending would be.

Right now, my parents and immediate family are managing well enough to allow me to devote myself to what has brought me joy. Perhaps the reason I am driven to work so hard is because I feel this time is finite for me.

My blog began when I wrote about the trauma I kept stuffed inside for a very long time. At the same time that I was releasing my trauma, I was also dealing with my challenging life. Today, my life feels far less complicated. I’m not sure if that’s just my perception or reality, but I am certainly grateful. Otherwise, I could never in a million years be devoting myself to the rediscovery of my songs.

A recent revelation I’ve had is that I was unable to sing because of the sadness during my zombie-like existence. Music began during the time in my life where I was joyful. In order for me to sing again, I had to release the trauma. Writing allowed me to do that. Once again I am joyful, and singing has been simply fantastic!

Playing my original songs has truly become the “musical of my life.” More and more, I feel the stories behind the music. I feel as though I’m in a time warp. Because I have been singing songs from my youth, I remember clearly how I felt when I was twenty years old. It doesn’t seem as though thirty years could have gone by!

There is both fantasy and reality going on for me at the same time.

The fantasy is keeping me very focused on finishing what I’ve started. When I started recording with George, there were a few songs that I sang in too high a register. Now I have perhaps five songs that I feel are adequately recorded.

The unfolding of the rest of my “songbook” is rapidly occurring now. I have ten songs in the works.

Preparing a song to record is a huge feat for me. Aside from transposing the song into a lower key, I also compose dual, guitar tracks. I’m not always comfortable with the lyrics. Rewriting lyrics, deciding musical formats, and memorizing all of this has been a passionate and exhausting endeavor, which I’ve embraced.

Sometimes, the poignancy of each song overwhelms me. Unfortunately, reality hits about what this is all costing me. Recording with George is an expense that I’ve wondered how I can justify. My husband always points out that we don’t own a large screen TV, but that’s okay with me. I wouldn’t call that a sacrifice!

George told me that recording one song in a three-hour session is rare. He has told me that most songwriters he’s worked with will spend at least three sessions to record one song. As an illustrator, I’m certain it would take at least that much time to perfect a recording.

My recordings have a lot of extraneous breaths, pops, and lip smacking that could be removed. With my vocal improvement, I could go back and re-record my songs with better vocals. However, I want to finish getting all of my songs recorded first, without perfection.

I am not writing any new songs yet, but I’m intrigued about what I would write about if and/or when that time arrives. I do have one song, which I am trying to rewrite the lyrics for. It has been quite challenging for me to write new lyrics.

Although my songs were written over thirty years ago, so many themes have continued in my life. Occasionally changing lyrics to be a better fit for me is necessary. For example, “Beside Me Always” was originally written as a “breakup” song. I never think of it that way anymore, since I revised the lyrics as a tribute for my dead son, Jason.

I also think about other special people whom I miss when I sing that song. When I sing “Another You,” I feel grateful for certain, special friends in my life.

Just yesterday I decided to revise the lyrics to the third verse of, “Another You.” Originally, I wrote the song for Cheryl and in the third verse it said: “Here I am shining to you, when you thought it could only be me, but your happiness is all I see, and all I’ve ever wanted.” That was related to when she had a broken engagement, while I was happily married. Later on, she became engaged again and that was the story behind the verse. Cheryl died two years ago, and the story is long ago.

I thought the words to the third verse would be a better fit for me this way: “Here I am shining to you, when I never thought it’d happen for me, and my happiness is there to see, and what you would have wanted.” That felt truer for me, as my journey has led me to intense joy.

So last night at Kulak’s Woodshed when I was performing “Another You,” I completely flubbed that third verse. I think I covered it up well, and no one would know any of this if I weren’t sharing it!

I am headed toward the image of performing full sets of all the songs I’ve worked hard at arranging. My voice will never be “professional,” but the feeling I have resonates and I’ve gotten beautiful feedback.

As I record more songs, I will be sharing more of the stories behind them. I was fortunate to have other ways to aide my memory. I kept diaries, and I discovered a special, cassette tape from thirty years ago.

This was not the cassette that was a straightforward rendition of eighteen of my songs. I had another tape from 1980. It was a special gift that I recorded to send to my good friend, Marge, while she was away in Israel for a year. Marge returned the tape to me many years ago. On that tape, I shared my latest compositions with her, as well as the stories behind the songs.

My opening up will continue, as I plan to share audio portions of that tape and diary pages that relate to my songwriting. All of this is very compelling and moving for me to share.

I prefaced my performance of “Another You,” with these words:

“I have been blessed in my life with great friendships, and nothing expresses feelings better than music.”

I spoke so softly, that I wasn’t sure the audience really heard me.

Now it’s going to be hard for me to play “Another You” again with a straight face. Last night when I performed it at Kulak’s, the host teased me afterwards. He said my song reminded him of songs that were sung on Sesame Street. Then someone imitated my singing using a “Kermit the Frog” voice. I guess my song has a child-like quality! That’s okay with me.

I enjoy sharing my lessons with Peaches. As usual, our laughter constantly erupts. Sharing my unfolding songs with Peaches has been very satisfying and exciting part of my journey.



© Judy Unger and 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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