I’ve admired Kerry Livgren for a long time.
Yes, you know him. The composer, guitarist, lyricist of Kansas.
Yes – “Carry on Wayward Son” – “Dust in the Wind”
Okay, now you’re with me.
Livgren didn’t just disappear after the glory years of Kansas in the late seventies and early eighties. Far from it. He released many solo albums, founded the band A.D., got back together with his old mates from the pre-Kansas days and released three terrific albums under the name Proto Kaw.
The guy is brilliant. Yet, the thing that has stood out the most for me about his musical procedures is that he is never satisfied. He said in an interview once that if he has the opportunity to make a previously released song better, he wouldn’t hesitate to do that. And he has.
He has remastered albums. He has kept the vocals of songs and completed rerecorded the instruments to make an even better product.
His dedication to his craft is relentless, and it has inspired me (as a writer) to be like Kerry!
When I think back seven years ago when I was writing my first novel, I didn’t know what I was doing. Seven years later, I’m still learning – lots.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the old stories. A lot, actually. I’m proud of my first novel BEAUTY RISING, but can it be better? Yes. Can I apply things I know now and didn’t know then to make it better? Yes. Will I do it? I will try. (There is a thing called time, you know.)
So I am hoping to do something like Kerry does. I’m not going to change the stories. The heart of the story will remain, but I might rework the language. I make color passages in a more interesting way. I may delete adverbs which I seemed to like so well back then. I’m looking forward to doing a new re-edit on some of my old stories to help freshen them up with my new rounds of knowledge about writing.
If it’s good enough for Kerry, it’s good enough for me. What about you?