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Songwriting Advice

March 2, 2003 |


Dear Mr. Keillor,

I am a 22-year-old recent college graduate. I am engaged and deeply in love with the girl of my dreams and I am so very lucky. We are getting married this summer. I sing and play guitar and would love to write a simple love ballad and sing to her at the altar on our wedding day. However, I am not the best writer and have never written a song. I love your poetry and songwriting style and I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to write a beautiful song for her.

Jason Lambert
Bowling Green, Kentucky

Jason, my advice is: don't do it. It's enough that you love her and feel lucky and that you want to write her a song. But when you pick up the guitar and everybody in the church gets very very very quiet, you've now become a performer, Jason, and your wedding should be a performance. There is such a thing as a stinko performance: there should not be such a thing as a bad wedding. Let the classic words and music speak for you and join you together in the company of all of us who were married to the same words and music. Write her a song, if you like, and put it on a CD and give it to her, a song for her alone.

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