The Piano as the Frame, Week #4
The piano becomes the teacher today, telling us how it should be played and in what order the keys should be. Our instructor emeritus is pop singer Marc Cohn. Your job today is to express emotions about Marc Cohn’s song, Walking in Memphis.
Creative Idea Gal’s Thoughts
I had heard the song Walking in Memphis but never really paid attention to it. Pop music will do that to you. Songs become memorable or notorious for different reasons. Walking in Memphis never really did it for me as a song, but the one thing that stood out was Marc’s exacting, deep voice. It struck me that Marc was in the wrong career, that he should probably be doing voiceovers for the movies, like movie trailers. Because Marc’s voice stood out in this song, it also brought me to an interesting emotion.
Creative Idea Gal’s Emotion
My emotion for today’s song is “precise,” which is not really an emotion but more of a compliment about the piano playing. I admire the precision that Marc uses in playing the piano in this song. When I saw the video performance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMv9E9F6zwI for this song, I also learned that Marc had been performing this song for 16 years and he keeps getting requests for it. Talk about staying power!
That story also reminded me of a similar story I read about either Chuck Mangione or Herb Alpert. I honestly don’t remember who made the comment, but one of them mentioned how their consistent playing of their signature song for 17 years was not tiring because the royalties they earned from the song were enough to put the daughter through college.
Tips on How to Evoke Emotion in Nonfiction Writing
- Tip #11 – Learn the rules of grammar and bend them
There is something to be said about precision. Precision in any craft is an outward sign of knowing how to do something and doing it well. I feel that type of precision coming from Marc Cohn’s piano playing in Walking in Memphis, which is further evidenced by the fact that he has been playing the same song for 16 years!
In the world of writing, precision is terrific. That means knowing the rules of grammar and using them in everyday writing. However…there is a time and place for everything. I will never advocate for poor grammar, but I’m quite forgiving and sometimes enthusiastic of grammar rules that are broken with purpose or style.
“Creating a positioning statement might be one of the greater language challenges. You have to make an emotional connection with the audience in a split second. When you have four to six words to tell the story of your service or product, grammar be damned—let’s get the word across at all costs.”– Lisa Gerber for PR Daily
“If the first kind of grammar (“who died and made you king”) is a social policy, and the second (“but everyone’s doing it”) is observational science, the third is art: what’s the best way to put words together to achieve a certain goal?” – Dr. Joel Hoffman, for Huffington Post
Writing Prompt 074
Prompt: Express emotions about Marc Cohn’s song, Walking in Memphis.
- Step 1: Listen to the song first. Then, watch the video performance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMv9E9F6zwI Marc Cohn’s stage presence isn’t necessarily strong. That might be a good thing because then, there are no distractions.
- Step 2: The piano is pure and unadulterated. That’s what makes it precise for me. For you, it may be different. How does it make you feel?
- Step 3: Express your emotions about this song. If you are tempted to hear the version of this song from Lonestar, don’t give into those temptations. Two totally different versions of the same song account for differences in style and consequently, emotion.
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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