Who Do You Listen To?

While riding the Metro-North into Manhattan in late December, I was reading The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles. I marched through Grand Central and continued downtown on Madison Avenue where I pictured piles of checks handed to me. “Pay to the order of Eric Sazer, Three hundred sixty-five thousand and two-hundred twenty-one dollars”, “Pay to the order of Mister Eric Sazer for the amount of Eighty-eight thousand, nine-hundred and fifty three dollars,” “Dear Eric, Please deposit this check written out to you, Eric Sazer, for the full amount of four-hundred and two thousand, seven-hundred and sixteen dollars. Enjoy it”. Block after block my mere thoughts alone were putting me into the billionaire bracket.

Anyone who knows me personally will attest to the fact that if greed rides though my bones, it does so on extremely low dosages. This desire to be wealthy rides more on the coattails of helping the world while doing the things I love rather than getting sloppy rich, lazy and unconscious. I could write an entire essay or blog post on how I’d use money to positively change the world around me (note to self).

By the time I hit East Thirty-third Street, I had enough funds to purchase Murray Hill. The glow within was so enormous I just couldn’t contain myself. I looked over at a younger man on his cell phone. We exchanged glances and then he asked if I needed any help. Shoving my wad of etheric billions into an unknown abyss, I shrugged. The younger man rushed off the phone with his mother and asked me who I am. I tell him my name and that I’m a writer. Coincidentally, he’s a marketer seeking a writer for a specific project. The nature of this project wasn’t revealed until days later: Ghostwriting the lyrics to a hit song for a fourteen-year-old girl with a golden voice.

Despite my limited experience in songwriting I agreed to the assignment. Why? Spoiler alert—the main character in my novel becomes a lyricist. The excitement working on this ghostwriting project ebbed (due to my insecurities as a lyricist) but mostly flowed (come on, who wouldn’t want to be wealthy after writing a hit song that makes millions happy?). On Thursday, January 28th, my excitement for this assignment came to a screeching halt when the young marketer asked for two first draft verses due on a meeting tentatively set for Sunday afternoon. Terror is what killed the excitement. “Four days isn’t enough time,” I told myself. “I really need to sit with this and let the words seep out naturally.” Oh the lies! The deception!

Later that day, I get on a call with a wonderful woman who used to work in the music industry. When I shared with her this project along with my terrors (which by then had spiraled out of control. “I’m no songwriter! Who am I fooling?), she did what any being would do…she acted as my mirror. At the end of the call, I was 98% sure that I’d have to abandon the ghostwriting project. Then a small voice in my head said, “Eric, stranger things have happened. Who cares that you don’t have years of experience writing songs? What about the novel? How is the main character going to be a lyricist if you don’t know how to write lyrics yourself?”

These past two days, the voices of terror played a grueling match of Ping-Pong against the voices of encouragement. Late this morning the match finally came to an end when I shared my concerns with the music producer on this project. He urged me to ignore those voices of terror. “What’s the worst that will happen,” he argued. “You write a bad song? So what?” The music producer insisted that I give this more than a month’s shot. “If after three months and your lyrics are less then desirable, than we can revisit you moving on.” How wonderful it to see the voices of terror vanish into silence.

I’m no fool. The voice of terror has a way of creeping in when you least expect it. Everything can be honky dory one minute only for seconds later paralysis kicks in. It happens to the best of us. The outcome of this song is unknown. I could write killer lyrics but the girl with the golden voice may not know how deliver it. Another outcome—all the world agrees that the lyrics are God awful but something about the beat, the girl’s voice and a tiny quarter of one verse gets everyone off their seats, dancing, singing along, raising vibrations, ending wars…ooh the possibilities puts a chill down my spine.

So, reader, who do you listen to? Do you play it safe? Do you not get up on that stage during karaoke because you might be so damned good (note to self)? Are you the type to sit in the back row hiding under your winter coat during an interactive theatrical piece (note to self once again)? When finished writing your blog, do you push the ‘delete’ button (if there is one) instead of ‘publish’, reader? Please comment below.

I will leave you with the song that got me dancing at the end of my last blog post. Until next time!


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