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Don’t let your ego get in the way of communication.

Anne Hills is a singer/songwriter currently based in Pennsylvania. She has a lovely song called “Follow that Road” that is based on driving directions to get to a house in the different seasons. When she first wrote the song and was performing it, people would come up and ask her about a line in the song that referred to chicory flowers being like pieces of the sky. She seemed to be the only one who knew what chicory flowers were and looked like. The line was not resonating with the audience, but Anne loved the image and wanted to hold onto it. She also had an experience where one gentleman told her that chicory doesn’t bloom in the spring in the area where he lived. She was determined not to change the line. Finally, it occurred to her that it was her ego that wanted to hold onto that image. When she let go of it, another image came and she reworked the line into one she feels is much better. It now refers to puddles looking like pieces of the sky. She has an image that is more universally understood and a phrase that has alliteration.

If you find yourself getting comments and constant questions on a line or phrase of a poem or song where people don’t identify with it or understand it, be willing to rework it. Don’t let your ego get in the way. You may be able to use the phrase in a different poem, or it may be lost forever, as Anne’s line about chicory couldn’t be used elsewhere. If it isn’t understandable in one poem, it might not be in another, either. Don’t hang onto things that do not communicate to your audiences.

Tip Origin: Anne Hills

Status: Complete


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