Writing Prompt: Express Emotions About King and Taylor’s So Far Away

Prompt 072The Subdued Piano, Week #3

A lovely way to end the week of the subdued piano is by featuring a classic tune by songwriter Carole King. Carole is well-known for producing hit songs for others, but did she do it for herself? Today, your job is to express emotions about a song by Carole King and James Taylor, So Far Away.

Creative Idea Gal’s Thoughts

I think out of all the piano players I’ve featured this month, I know the least about Carole King. I used to associate her with the Monkees and with other singers who had top billboard hits. I always read about Carole King’s influence on the music scene as a songwriter, but I never actually researched her own songs or biography until now.

Carole King is listed as a songwriter. That means she either wrote the lyrics or wrote the music to a song. Personally, I find that lack of distinction confusing because it would help me to make a better judgment of Carole King’s music knowing what specific role she played.

Creative Idea Gal’s Emotion

My emotion for today’s song is “pleasant.” It was very difficult for me to assess So Far Away because I’m not really crazy about Carole King and definitely not a fan of her singing voice. Her piano playing? I don’t know. I suppose it is okay.

I watched several video performances of Carole King and finally selected this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYus5zxyIy4 because it’s so recent. It features So Far Away, a 1970s song, sung in 2013. If this video performance showcases anything, it is staying power. It’s extraordinary that this song lasted as long as it did and seems to be enjoyed by all who listen to it.

My impression, unfortunately, did not rise above “pleasant.” I couldn’t help but think of Carole and her singing voice as the type of nightclub or lounge act that Simon Cowell often complained about on American Idol. Simon distinguished powerhouse singers from okay singers whose talents were better showcased in lounges.

That is just my impression of the song itself, though. It does not speak to the staying power of the song, its undeniable popularity, or the fact that Carole King has been recognized and awarded as the most prolific songwriter of all time.

Tips on How to Evoke Emotion in Nonfiction Writing
  • Tip #9 – Use personal passion, for or against

With reference to Carole King and her song So Far Away, I view her song as neutral more than anything. It is pleasant, it is nice. It does not threaten and does not inspire social change. There is a time and place for nice things in our society, but there is also a great need for passion.

Passion is needed to voice personal opinions either for or against a particular topic. Personal opinions often inspire equally passionate reactions by others. Society thrives on social change in response to opinions. That is not the stuff of fairy tales; it is the stuff of reality.

I strongly believe that using personal passion to write nonfiction in favor of or against something is a surefire way to evoke emotion from the reader.

Helpful Resources

“A “for and against” essay is a formal piece of writing in which a topic is considered from opposing points of view. You should present both sides in a fair way by discussing them objectively and in equal detail.”– Academic Writing

“You may be required to write an essay that is based on your own personal opinion about a controversial topic. Depending on your objective, your composition could be any length, from a short letter to the editor, to a medium-sized speech, or a long research paper. But every piece should contain some basic steps and elements.” – Grace Fleming for About.com

Writing Prompt 072

Prompt: Express emotions about Carole King and James Taylor’s song, So Far Away.

  • Step 1: Listen to the song first. Then, watch the video performance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYus5zxyIy4 Think about how old this song is. Does it stand the test of time? Is the song relevant today?
  • Step 2: Carole King and James Taylor wrote this song. Does it matter to you who wrote the lyrics? Who wrote the music?
  • Step 3: Express your emotions about this song. Watch how Carole sings the song. Does her face convey any emotion? Do Carole King’s facial expressions move you in any way?

Please be sure to leave comments about this writing prompt. We want to hear from you!

About the Author

Amanda M. Socci, J.D., is a freelance writer with 14 years of experience writing professionally. Socci currently cuts her blogging chops on her personal portfolio blog, the Creative Idea Gal blog, and on an online news site, Mount Vernon Patch. Inspired by Nina Amir’s Write Nonfiction in November writing challenge, she created a unique 10-month training program for Writenonfictionnow.com and Writenonfictioninnovember.com blog visitors.

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