Vol.VIII No.I Pg.8
March 1971

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Out west some brethren are having a wonderful time, and doing something useful, by trying their hands at song writing. Brent Lewis has produced a singable hymn; and bros. Bolton, Worley. and Stevens have written several spiritual songs and hymns, available by writing Claude E. Worley, 809 N. Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills, Cal. 90210

I couldnt resist telling them the following story, from my earlier days when I taught some singing schools. An aspiring song-writer brought three manuscripts, no names attached, asking my judgement. Singing through the first, I found it a bit awkward — so with a little hemming and hawing it was lain aside, and the second examined. This too was not smooth, and the melody was rather dull, so with some limited commendations we moved to the third.

This one had it! It was singable, well planned, with a lilting pleasant tune; yet neither jazzy nor too complicated for congregational use. I began to praise the song, and congratulate the man for an excellent job — and was amazed that he seemed rather unhappy about the matter.

Whats wrong with the others? he asked, and put them into my hands for explanation.

I replied that in my opinion they just didnt jell — the feel, the touch was missing. But one out of three is an excellent average. We cant expect to hit on every sermon, article, or song we write. You have done a marvelous job on this third song, and you may scrap the first two with no feelings of regret.

The mans feelings were unchanged. In despair he explained, But bro. Turner, I didnt write that third song. It belongs to Bro. Teddlie.

I wonder how many trial runs, bits and scraps, whole songs, bro. Teddlie threw into the waste basket before he produced the singable version. Once in a marvelous while we come up with a first-run gem — usually the cream of many months of musing and study, even though we may not be aware that the idea grows beneath the surface. But most good things are the product of luck, spelled hard work. The public sees the condensed, pithy, challenging and action-producing end. (Oh, how we hope!!) But we clean out an overloaded waste basket, and wonder where well get the next one.