Lines of Inspiration
“A word that’s soft and gentle makes it easier to bear…”
While contemplating the upcoming A to Z challenge, a myriad of inspirational sources came to mind; the heady smell of fresh-cut grass, the waving sigh of a windswept forest, the startling cold spray of white water rapids, or midnight tides that smooth a trampled beach. I didn’t know how I could choose… so I gave up and turned up the radio – and there it was. Music! Whether richly melodic or downright caustic, the sound of music does indeed inspire. And I’m a nut about lyrics! I actually cringe when someone gets the lyrics wrong, though even I can’t always tell what the singer is saying. But it seems there’s always that one line that tugs my mind off to where all good memoirs, books, poems, and blogs are born. And because I feel the same way about memorable maxims, I may just throw in a few of those as well, as I participate in this year’s April – A to Z – Challenge!
Songwriter Spotlight: Harry M. Woods
After a childhood piano recital, his sister once said “You’d think he had twenty fingers,” which was striking, considering Harry Woods was born with only five. Undeterred, Harry became adept at working harmony with his left wrist, as his perfectly good right hand strummed the melodies of his own agreeably upbeat compositions in recitals which supported him through college (Harvard). Harry cultivated his lyricist leanings while farming in Cape Cod before he was drafted during WWI. Not long after his return (New York City), he became a highly notable piano-playing songwriter on Tin Pan Alley, penning such enduring songs as “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover” and “When the Red, Red Robin…”, made all the more famous by the voice of Al Jolson.
In contrast to his cheerful songs, Harry was also known for a tendency to engage in barroom brawls. As police led him away after one such incident, a woman reportedly whispered “Who is that horrible man?” to which Harry’s friend replied “Oh, that’s Harry Woods. He wrote ‘Try a Little Tenderness’”.
Sometime in the mid-forties, Harry retired from Tin Pan Alley life and settled in Glendale, Arizona for a good thirty years before being struck by a car, right outside his home.
Are you easily inspired? What inspires you most? Had you heard of Harry Woods?