Who Would I Rather Be?

As a child, I don’t recall wishing I was someone else, although I admired Roy Rogers enough I wished I could be like him. I was too young and immature to think my parents would take my desire for a horse seriously, however, especially since I’d never been on anything more than merry-go-round ponies.

I don’t recall wanting to be someone else as a teen, either. But, while I spent hours mastering the guitar–if indeed one ever masters it to his own satisfaction–and watching various folk singers on Hootenanny, I feel certain I had dreams of being admired on the same kind of stage. But then the “folk fad” dissolved, and “folk rock” took over. That wasn’t my thing.

Adulthood tends to make some interesting changes to our wishes and desires over the years.

Just as my first two careers, which added up to almost sixteen years of my life, failed to fulfill me, I turned more and more to writing–poetry, short stories, monologues, short plays. And songs. Christian songs that were, uh, very folk-flavored. That was something I couldn’t get out of my system.

I don’t think I truly began to appreciate who I was, however, until I went to Australia on my first volunteer overseas mission trip. I discovered that there are still people who appreciate and are moved by my kind of music.

Nonetheless, it’s taken a number of years to recognize that being a published novelist and an ever-improving musician who’s written over two hundred songs aren’t really who I am. My ability to do those things is a gift from God. I can’t even begin writing a new song until He gives me the idea. And then I must count on Him for the guidance to perfect it to whatever degree I’m capable of. That’s recently become true of my novel writing, too.

What I’ve discovered more-and-more in my old age (I hate to refer to seventy-one as “old age,” but it’s certainly not “middle age”) is that the heart of everything I am lies in the fact that I’m a Child of God, desirous of pleasing Him in using the abilities He’s given me.

So the question “Who would I rather be?” is irrelevant. A better question is “Who would I like to be more like?”

That’s easy to answer. I want to be more Godly. More Christlike. I want to be more loving, more generous, more patient, kinder, more understanding, bolder in opposing things that are wrong and more willing to just shrug my shoulders at things I don’t simply don’t like.

Christ was and is perfect. I’m not. So wanting to become more like Him seems like the most desirable thing I could ever wish for. Who says I’m too old to grow in that direction?

What about you? How about leaving a comment?

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,


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Which One Is Your Favorite Child?

So, those of you who have children, which one is your favorite?

Wow! What a loaded question…and a ridiculous one. Obviously asked by someone like me who has a single child, one who by default will always be my favorite without regard to any of her wonderful qualities or even of her less desirable ones.

But I do have eyes and ears, and I’m apt to have my favorites among the offspring of families who have multiple kids. Maybe it’s because one always speaks pleasantly to me whereas another doesn’t seem to notice me, even when I speak to him. Or maybe one has a talent I especially admire and enjoy, but the abilities of her siblings don’t t hold any special interest to me.

Maybe I even prefer one child over another because she’s safely made it through the worst part of adolescence and the other kids are either still just children or younger teens I’d be willing to loan the parents a cage for.  And I’ll admit it: a cute kid warms my heart more easily than an average-looking one.

I don’t see anything wrong with my having preferences among other people’s kids. The important thing is I recognize that most parents either don’t like one of their own kids better than another or wouldn’t admit it even under oath.

Believe it or not, I CAN relate to that fact. Especially if I change the question to this:

Roger, of the books and songs you’ve written, which is your favorite?

Hmm. My favorite of the over two hundred songs I’ve written during the last fifty-some years?  And the favorite of my twelve novels, four of which have been or are about to be published?

Wait! Those are my children you’re talking about! How can you expect me to have a favorite? Each one was my favorite–or at least the most important one–at the time of its “birth.”

Sure, I keep a separate binder of the songs I don’t have any interest in anymore but don’t want to forget about totally. And several of my novel manuscripts just don’t seem to be what publishers are currently looking for; so I can pretend to forget about them.

But they’re still my children. All of them.

My wife knits and crochets.  A friend makes the most amazing things out of wood. Could they name the one project they would be willing to label their absolute, all-time favorite? I seriously doubt it.

And what about you? If you have a creative skill, would you be able to say that one particular creation was not just your favorite, but will probably always be your favorite? How about leaving a comment?

Oh, and I promised last week to give the answer this week about what those little gadgets I was writing about are called:

Plastic Toggle Spring Stop Single Hole String Cord Locks

At least that’s what some of the ones on Amazon were called. My wife and I were shopping at Hobby Lobby yesterday and found a package of them totally unexpectedly. And the package was labeled more simply:  Cord Stop Plastic. What a hoot!

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,

On Writing Songs

I’m not just a novelist.  I’m also a song writer.

In the fifty-four years I’ve been playing guitar, I’ve composed close to two hundred songs,  a rock opera, and three or four musical dramas. While none of my songs have enjoyed wide-spread popularity–most of you aren’t familiar with any of them–I’ve been able to use them in prisons, migrant camps, and even occasionally in churches. Plus on mission trips to England, Wales, Romania, and Australia.

But writing a song is so much different from writing a novel that I decided to share my thoughts on the subject. I’m sure every song writer has his or her own methodology, but I doubt that many song writers can see–uh, hear–exactly what the finished work will be like until they actually get there.

That’s true for me.

I used to write as many as six or seven songs a year, but–since becoming a novelist–the number has dropped to one song every year or two. Not for lack of interest. Or even lack of time.

I believe God has very specific expectations  regarding the use of my talents. So it’s no wonder that I can’t simply wake up one day and say, “I want to write a song today.” Instead, I pray that God will lead me to an idea I can’t ignore. And then I wait. Sometimes many months.

I occasionally come up with a song idea that seems potentially worthwhile, but unless that idea comes to me in the form of a definite first line, I’m not even going to jot it down anywhere, much less try to do something with it.

But if I have a first line, I’m apt to feel that song is something God intends for me to write. I have two directions to go in at that point. I can try to complete the lyrics for the first stanza or I can just start singing that line to myself to see what kind of tune comes to mind. That normally works best once I have at least the rough version of the first stanza, however.

Sometimes I come up with what seems like a fairly catchy tune without much effort. Unlike years long past when I had to struggle to write the melody, note by note by note. I’m not apt to write it down yet, though. I’ve found that if that’s the tune God wants me to use, it’s going to come back to me again the next time I need it. I don’t recall ever having “lost” a tune that way.

But once I have the basic melody I start refining the first stanza lyrics and trying to determine where to go from there.

Many of my songs are based on Scripture, however, and that creates a completely different challenge: phrasing the Scripture my own way without doing the Bible an injustice. I’ll never forget sitting on the living room carpet surrounded with three or four different translations of the Bible and taking a word or phrase from one and something else from another. That was for “Let the Whole Earth Ring,” my rendition of Psalm 100.

Sooner or later I enter what I have of the new song thus far into Personal Composer software, which allows me to print professional looking lead sheets (words, melody, and chords). Then I start singing what I have over and over again, often making the tiniest changes to the lyrics. (See the link at the bottom of this page about the free lead sheets available on my website.)

Writing a whole song is apt to take anywhere from two to four weeks, and there’s no telling how many versions I print from Personal Composer in the process.

But alas! writing the song is actually the easy part. Then I have to LEARN it! That requires me to forget each of the discarded bits and pieces that are

Are you creative with words or music? Or in some other way? I know at least one of you is quite creative as a cook. How about leaving a comment and sharing a bit about your special talent?


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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,