Parkenfarkles Song Writers Sanctuary

Dan Shepherd

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This Album is dedicated to all the songs writers who conceive a melody in there minds and try to make a story or theme out of the sound only the song writer can hear.

There are no rules for writing a song. Anyone can try it. The first time I tried was when I was walking home from San Andreas Junior high school, humming melodies that just came to me. Sometimes I would realize that I was just repeating something I heard on the radio. However, other times I was not. A melody alone may be considered a song, but when you add lyrics to the melody, you are creating a complete song. I started doing this after I started listening to Bob Dylan. I heard “Like a Rolling Stone” on the radio and I immediately purchased “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits.” There were so many great songs on that album and every song had a theme of its own. I was already strumming my guitar (an old Harmony acoustic six string) playing folk songs that my father taught me and Beatles songs that I figured out on my own. But Bob Dylan’s songs made me want to write my own.

I wrote “Smile for Me” when I was about 16 years old. I was trying to write a Beatles song. I never did much with it besides playing the song to friends. Years later, when I tried to record it, I wanted it to have a “Buddy Holly” type beat to it. I invented a guitar riff that I hoped will please Buddy Holly’s spirit and all the Buddy Holly fans. I put the song together and I dedicated the song to him.

I wrote “To Appreciate Dawn” after I received an unexpected post card during a mail call on board the USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3). I was in the Navy and we were steaming through the middle of the Indian Ocean at the time. I met the girl at a roller-skating rink a couple year earlier, and I did not expect to hear from her again. Her post card came at perfect time and it cheered me up. The song was easy to write.

I wrote “Miss Dewey Friend” when I was a part of a traveling sales team. I like calling her Miss Dewey because it sounded like a mystery. The play on words was interesting to me. When a close friend announces her engagement, it is an interesting feeling.

I wrote “Reminiscing while waltzing” and its title explains the whole inspiration. Even relationships that do not follow through can make a memory worth remembering. I wrote “California Blue” while walking home alone at dusk. I started thinking about how blue the evening looked while the sun was going down.

I started writing “I need you” when I was still in high school, but never finished it until many years later. When I changed the song theme from just another desperate love long trying to hold on to a dissolving relationship to a song encouraging friendship, it was easy to finish.

I wrote “Fate Steps In” about gang violence when I was in junior college. But it never went anywhere. It was hard to complete in a meaningful way. When I added in a western sound and added in some words I heard during a “Big Valley” Re-run on TV. I was able to finish it rather easily. “Shannon’s Song” is a song I wrote just recently. It is about a dental assistant and her friends, and I was simply a patient. But wanted to write about the experience and it was easy to compose.

“May God Always Be with You” is obviously about my children Julia and Eleanor. Bob Dylan wrote a beautiful song called “Forever Young” and I was impressed with it even before I became a father. Once I had kids, I learned for myself how easy it is to write about the love between parents and the kids.

“Observing Mr. Potter” was a combination of three unfinished songs. The first part of the song, (“The rise of Mr. Potter”) was an incomplete song I attempted to write when I was still in high school. I was directing my anger at some narcissistic opinionated big mouth at school. But it was hard to finish. I could not stay angry at the guy because I understood that I was considered narcissistic, opinionated, and the size of my mouth got me in trouble occasionally. I grew beyond the angry feelings and the song was impossible to complete. Then I wrote another song I initially called “preventive enthusiasm.” I was inspired by a close friend of mine who was doing some self-destructive things. I simply wanted my friend to “think about what you’re doing.” The song was difficult to finish. The song evolved into the middle part of “Observing Mr. Potter”, called “Mr. Potter’s Struggle”. The final part of “Observing Mr. Potter” was a song I could not find an appropriate title for. I was watching a lone man walking somewhere alone and it reminded me of myself walking home alone and writing “California Blue.” The song was easy to write but it was hard to come up with a title. All three portions of the song evolved into one. Mr. Potter is the character from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Now that I have talked about all the songs on this album, I hope you can understand my history. I hope I can encourage people attempt to write meaningful songs because I am attempting to write meaningful songs. I hope you like them.

Dan Shepherd

P.S. Parkenfarkle is a writer’s name I invented for a creative writing class at the Junior College at San Mateo California. I am pretty sure no-one else has ever used it. It may be useful for a “google search.” I am certain you will not find Dan Shepherd, but I bet you should find Parkenfarkle.

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