Why I Write Songs – Marty Dodson

by Marty Dodson
Jan 7, 2015

Some of you have heard parts of my story more than others. Now that we are past 13,000 population for Songtown, I realize that many of you have not. Every now and then, in the crazy, competitive world in which I live, I have to remind myself WHY I write songs.

I realized early on that I loved words. In an odd and uncommon way. As a little kid, I made jokes or puns that other people didn’t “get” or find funny. I played with words and said things that had double (or triple) meanings.

Language was fascinating to me. I also loved to write.

One of my grandmothers loved writing as well. She lived in Michigan and I rarely got to see her, but she would send me blank notebooks and ask me to mail them back to her after I filled them with my writing. I remember lying on my bed and opening the packages that contained those spiral notebooks, fresh and waiting for my thoughts.

The idea that someone (my grandmother) cared enough about my thoughts to not only read them, but to provide me with the blank canvases on which to paint them was profound to me even as a child. I didn’t even know what “publishing” was at the time, but I did know that writing something that other people would actually read – even if it was only ONE other person – was a big deal.

So, I wrote. Silly poems. Jokes. Limericks. Stories. Lyrics.

Whatever was on my mind, I wrote. Until the notebook was filled to capacity, I challenged myself to write every day. Then, I would package the full volume of my work up and mail it back.

She would always write me letters to tell me which pieces of my work were her favorites. She bragged on them all. But, one time, her letter included an clipping from her local newspaper. It said “Aspiring Author, Marty Dodson…” and included a picture of me as well as one of my poems. The article below the picture told who I was and that I was Irene Dodson’s grandson who lived in Nashville. I remember the feel of the newspaper in my hand. I remember the wondering how many people read my poem that day.

But most of all, I remember reading the words “Aspiring Author” over and over.

It wouldn’t be true to say that changed my life or altered the course of it. But, it did give me something to shoot for. Throughout my life, I have thought back to the moment when I first realized that my voice MATTERED to someone. It’s a big reason why I write songs.

In many ways, I’m still an “Aspiring Author”. I aspire to be better every day.

I aspire to reach more people with my words all the time. I aspire to bring light into the world with those words. And I aspire to make my grandmother proud of my work, even though she isn’t here to hear it and she never got to hear one of my songs. She taught me that words on paper matter.

A big reason why I write songs is that She valued my voice. She passed on a love for combining words in ways that move people.

What she gave me is priceless. That’s ONE of the reasons I write.

Write on! MD

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing


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