The greatest gift

I had a falling out with a dear friend and music partner several years ago when we made the attempt to turn our creative, musical partnership into a financial one. We had co-developed a method of songwriting together, which was born of the seeds of a songwriting method that my colleague and friend had called Autoethnographic Songwriting. This method, which came to be known as Story-to-Song (STS) during our time working together (I had the thought that giving it a name that reflected its parts and was simple might make it accessible to a broad audience beyond the academy), became the focus of our academic doctoral research, as well as our professional lives.

Our relationship was very meaningful for me and our creative time together was formative and life changing. Though our business endeavor did not materialize, I remain thankful for the time we had together. It has been a long process of grief and healing to move on and arrive at the place where I am today. I am continuing to guide songs into the world and am ever grateful for to have found an incredible poet, artist, and human being to work with here in Brussels.

I have periodically seen the work my former colleague has been doing in the songwriting realm, and it is impressive. He has created the business he desired and has a flotilla of documentary songwriters from around the world with whom he collaborates. His website is well-developed, and I have noticed phrasing and wording similar to that I use on my own site likely born from our time working together.

My own creative goals were different, which I believe was one reason our business endeavor ultimately did not succeed. I did not wish to train new songwriters. I wanted to be out in the world as a songwriter, helping people to give voice to as many stories as possible through music.

What has been painful, beyond the sadness of losing a trusted friend and creative partner (both of which are very precious), has been to discover that my contributions to the co-creation of the Story-to-Song (STS) method have been completely deleted from the history of the method. On his website, I am not mentioned at all for my work with him in developing this songwriting method. In addition, my request be given ownership of the original domain name have also been refused, which has been challenging for me.

When I was first beginning my career as a park ranger, I experienced firsthand a colleague taking credit for my work. It was shocking and hurtful, and so I always always do my best to honor the origin of ideas. I see my role as a songwriting guide as revealing and honoring the truth, so this is especially important.

I don’t know why my contributions have been deleted from the origin story of this songwriting method, and it is all too easy to create my own narrative around it. I do know that these discoveries have been affecting me on a deep level and inhibiting inner peace. I believe it is important to share all human experiences, and so I felt it important to air my emotions as a means of attempting to let them go and allow for healing. Perhaps now, I can finally let it all go.

As always, I am so very grateful for the support I receive from people near and far in my endeavors to give voice to all people’s experiences.

As my first yoga teacher used to say, “The greatest gift you can give the world is to tell your truth.”

Every person has a story, and every story deserves to be heard.

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