Song of Arkansas Contest Update

My song didn’t make the cut to the final round of the Song of Arkansas contest.  There are positive and negative aspects of that.  The only negative aspect, really, is that I’m a little sad and disappointed.  The positive aspects far outweigh my barely bruised feelings.   First of all, nobody among my followers will have to put up with me fretting and nail biting and CONSTANTLY POSTING ABOUT IT for the rest of this month. 🙂  Also, I’ve gotten a bucket load of compliments from all sorts of people, from family to strangers, about the song that I came up with, “Celebrate in Arkansas”.  Those words of praise mean more to me than any contest outcome ever could, and that’s the absolute truth. Thanks, everyone.

I pushed myself, I wrote something outside my comfort zone and outside my typical musical style (this was about as close to country & western as I could ever get, folks, despite obvious regional advantages in that direction), and I put it out there just as fast as I could.

If you want to check out the songs that did make the cut (the judges chose SEVEN instead of five!) just do a Google search for Song of Arkansas, and you should find the page easily.

I’m leaving the YouTube version of the song right where it is, and sometime soon I’ll polish the recorded version up further for release as an online single.

And now, now that I know I don’t need to hide any bit of outspokenness or typical folk singer activism for a few weeks in order to get the public to vote for my song, I’m free to write a companion piece that includes all the things I want to say about the need for social change in the green places of my birth- things I advised myself to leave out of my entry for a song contest whose end result would promote tourism in the state.  It’s a kind and gentle place that raised me, but it’s not the most progressive.  We had a tar sands spill less than a year ago, about 30 miles from where I now live, and it’s fallen out of the media, as things (disasters) do after they’re no longer fresh.  Our abortion laws are among the strictest in the country, and the reproductive rights of women are not well respected here.  Racial profiling is a daily issue, our education system is as underfunded as anyone else’s, if not more, and I see all flavors of religiously motivated and socially motivated ignorance whenever I leave my wooded sanctuary and head into town.

Honestly, my secret plan was to donate the contest prize money to Planned Parenthood or the Arkansas ACLU if I won the contest.  And now I can say that out loud.

Now I can challenge myself again.

I’ve told the truth about the positive aspects of the place I came from and what I love about it.  Now I can challenge myself to tell some others truths.  I can invoke the singers and sinners who’ve gone before, and use my guitar and my microphone as the machines of change that they are.

I’ll put the soap box back now, for a while. 🙂  I walk on stilts, anyway, so I can always just grab those instead, and be even taller and harder to miss.

I wish the finalists and the contest administrators all the best, and I now return you to our regularly scheduled, outspoken and blatant and off-the-wall creativity. 🙂  I urge you all, with the best of my love, to be who you are, and to blaze brightly, and to say what is in your heart, rather than trying to fit into something you think other people will want.