“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
– Thomas Mann
In a theoretical sense, writing seems easy. I’ve done it my whole life, with not insignificant success. Virtually everyone has written something – a love letter, an email, a journal entry. So why should the act of stringing words together be that hard? It’s only when you get down in the dirt with the specters of doubt, ego and self-judgment that things get complicated. What about this word? This line? This song? Do I know what I’m doing? Did I ever?
It isn’t even so much the difficulty of the writing itself, although that can be pure hell; it’s the transition between the outer world and the inner one that’s tortuous. When I was a kid, being interrupted in the act of play was so awful as to be nearly physically painful. The sensation of being ripped from one world and set down in another was almost unbearable. And writing is not so different from child’s play – the fluidity, the intensity, the sense of separateness from the usual structures of time. Coming off the road and going into the writing room is a huge change of atmosphere, enough to give a person the bends. It’s hard to go in, and it hurts to come out.
But when it goes well, it’s better than anything. For me there is never (or at least very rarely) certain knowledge that I’ve written something very good; it’s more of a sneaking suspicion, but one I’ve learned to listen to more intently as I’ve grown older. Ultimately, though, it’s not until the song exists in the air, and reaches other ears than mine, that it lives (and sometimes dies). I’ve still got a lot of writing to do before another album begins to take shape. But I can’t wait to bring these new songs to your ears.
Up for auction
New York Women in Film & Television is auctioning me off! The New York branch of the Women In Film organization is auctioning off a great package this spring. The winner will receive two tickets to my show in London at the Tabernacle on May 19th, two VIP backstage passes and a handwritten, autographed lyric to the song of your choice (assuming, that is, that I wrote it). Bidding will begin soon at Charity Buzz. When we get the link to the auction we’ll send out a special bulletin. More info on NYWIFT below:
The preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York City, New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) champions women calling the shots in film, television and digital media. NYWIFT energizes the careers of women in entertainment by illuminating their achievements, providing training and professional development activities and advocating for equity. Membership includes more than 2,000 women and men working both above and below the line. NYWIFT is part of a network of 40 women in film organizations worldwide, representing more than 10,000 members.
A sweet Valentine
Voting has ended for the The Alternate Root’s Valentine Sampler, and “The Way You Move Me” has made the final cut. The complete sampler, with cover art, can be downloaded from The Alternate Root website now. Thanks for voting!
A couple of fringe benefits
The benefit for Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee which did not take place due to the Great Nashville Snowstorm of 2010 has been rescheduled for March 25. The one and only Marshall Chapman will be joining me. Marshall is a singer-songwriter, an author and soon to be a movie star. She has a prominent role in the upcoming film “Love Don’t Let Me Down” starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Marshall plays Gwyneth’s road manager. Anyone who knows Marshall would want her for a road manager, for the stories, if nothing else.
I’m also happy to announce a new benefit, The Stars Go Blue for Colon Cancer, featuring Rodney Crowell, Peter Cooper & Mike Reid and myself along with Barry Walsh. The whole thing takes place at 7PM on March 23rd at the Loveless Barn.
Wine Women & Song news
Matraca, Suzy and I recently spent an afternoon hanging around with Amanda Holden (Britain’s Got Talent); UK residents can view a replay of our appearance on the show Amanda Holden’s Fantasy Lives here. We opened a bottle of wine with her and dished about Nashville, country music and other stuff. We are about 5 minutes into the show; don’t blink!
Respected country music blog The 9513 was in Decatur, GA at our most recent show and graced us with this wonderful review.
Thanks guys, we love you too!
We have been getting a LOT of emails regarding the “Circus Girl – Without A Net” tour. The tour is nearly 100% confirmed – just a few loose ends to tie up. Please keep checking the Tours page for new dates if you don’t see a show in your area. As you may already know, this is going to be an all-request tour – we’re building the set list from your favorite songs. On April 1 (no fooling) we’ll start taking requests via email, Twitter, Facebook and in the forum at www.gretchenpeters.com. I’d love to hear not only your requests, but a personal anecdote, reminiscence or just your thoughts on the song you want to hear most. We are really excited to be including a new visual component to this tour – more about that next month.
The Official press release:
In celebration of the release of Circus Girl: The Best Of Gretchen Peters, Peters will be embarking on her first-ever “all request” tour in 2010. The intimate show will encompass and highlight her entire body of work and feature the stories behind the songs, personal anecdotes and glimpses behind the scenes of her 20+ year career. The set list (composed entirely of requests by fans via email, Twitter, Facebook and Peters’ website) will doubtless include fan favorites such as “On A Bus To St. Cloud” and “Sunday Morning (Up and Down My Street)” as well as more obscure selections from the Deluxe Limited Edition of Circus Girl, which contains 16 tracks of rarities and previously unreleased songs. The “Circus Girl – Without A Net Tour” opens in the UK in May 2010.
We have posted a bunch of new photos in the Gallery, so if you haven’t visited in awhile come check them out. By popular request, we have brought back the “Fan Photos” album. We encourage you to send in your photos from after the show, but only if we both look fabulous or you’re great with Photoshop!
Download of the Month
This month’s download is a change of pace from the live tracks we’ve been posting. Since I’ve been spending most of my time writing, I thought I’d share this audio segment from an interview with Pat Geary from Voice Of Country, done in 2004 during the press run for “Halcyon”. We talked about co-writing, the need for solitude, and the rewards and pitfalls of “confessional” songwriting.