My head is full of stories. I've had a constant 'scattergun of random thoughts', characters, scenes and plots, 'ricochet' inside my brain for as long as I can remember. The seed of an idea for a novel took root when my kids were little. Over the course of one year I wrote the first draft of The Front House - a contemporary women's fiction manuscript. Many drafts later, I'm honing my writing skills as I polish The Front House and work on the sequel, The Affair. Nasty Piece of Work is next. I have a creative non-fiction memoir, a number of short stories and two other novels all competing for space inside my brain and on my memory stick - and for the time to write them. Over the last few years I've taken writing retreats, enjoyed workshops, attended conferences in Sydney and Melbourne, spent quality time with fellow writers, pitched to publishers and been invited to send my manuscripts for consideration. I've had poetry, lyrics, flash fiction, short memoir pieces and short stories published. Writing is a glorious form of torture!
As for the song-writing, that is also a wondrous and addictive creative pursuit.
My "Turn Back Oh Man" solo as Mary Magdalene in Godspell in year 12, was the stand out highlight of my school life - both terrifying and exhilarating! Mum and Dad bought me my first guitar and for years I enjoyed playing and singing other people's songs. For a year or two, I blended in with the Tides of Welcome Choir in Queenscliff. It was a fabulous experience singing on the recording of their first CD and performing with them at the Queenscliff Music Festival - but, I wasn't really a choir girl. For my birthday in 2008 I treated myself to a new guitar and some songbooks and set about trying out some Van Morrison songs. Trying to master the chords to other people's songs was tricky though, and I soon realised I wanted to write my own songs - and choose my own chords. So that's what I did!
I spent weeks writing my first song, with lyrics going 'round and round in my brain', keeping me awake for hours. I'd put my pen and paper beside my bed and then another line would pop into my head and I'd be jumping up again to jot it down while I still remembered it! My next song I wrote in about half an hour. When my daughter realised there were more references to her brother than to her in my first song, I wrote "Beautiful Girl". I was pretty much addicted to songwriting from then on. Amongst my favourite possessions are my colourful striped journals, full of scribbled words, phrases, lines, verses, poems, stories and chords. Some of my songs have started with the melody and then the lyrics have literally been sung into the song as I've strummed, or I've flicked back through my journal and found that I already had the seed of an idea to suit the tune. Most have started with the lyrics.
A lot of my songs I wrote in the early hours of the morning, 'at 2 and 3 and 4' with the rest of the family fast asleep. I've written lyrics on a tiny notepad on the train and on serviettes at restaurants. I've dictated to my daughter while I'm driving and I've pulled over and recorded into my phone voice memos. I record or type ideas and verses into my phone notes when I'm out hill walking, or along the Barwon River. Bedraggled and wrapped in a towel, I had to ask for a pen and paper from reception at the gym after a song had boiled away in my head while I was relaxing in the spa. I knew I'd lose it if I didn't write it down straight away. I typed a song into my phone sitting on the banks of Lake Wendouree between races at my son's rowing regatta. For "Bits and Pieces" I had borrowed my nephew's junior guitar while we were on holiday in Scotland. The lyrics were honed as we walked, drove and marvelled at the West Coast and Seil Island. The melody was fine-tuned while I relaxed on the queen size bed in our croft cottage.
The song writing was a revelation for me! I could use and marry up my endless supply of one-liners and rhyming couplets and put them to music! Often the only way I can get a new song out of my head is to start the next one. Songwriting is gloriously all-consuming, therapeutic and satisfying - and family aside, my songs are what I am most proud of. I get such a buzz hearing snippets of my lyrics in every day conversations and on the radio, and even more of a buzz hearing family and friends humming, whistling or singing my songs - or asking me to sing them. There's a melancholy to the reflections in many of my songs, but that's real life - 'joys tightly wrapped in sorrow'. I wrote "Killin' Time", what I think is a catchy, happy tune, and my husband dubbed it my 'most upbeat sad song yet'! I love songs that tell a story, lyrics I can hear, understand and interpret, and a melody that lends itself to harmony - and that stays with me. I write songs that I love. I hope you enjoy them.
Songwriter, singer, writer and life coach, Elizabeth Hopkin - aka
Lizzy-Lou, Liverwust, Lilly, Lizzie, Lizzie-Liz, Liz & Lovey - started writing songs in 2009.
Elizabeth has written more than 80 original songs, with many more works in progress. She sings evocative, original, folk songs with simple melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Her songs are fragments of real life, moments in time, personal and compelling. She has performed at numbers of special gatherings over the years, including Book, Poetry and Yoga events, House Concerts, Music Festivals and Folk Clubs. Elizabeth enjoyed being a regular at the Geelong Folk Music Club, performing at The Max Hotel, Irish Murphy's, The Elephant and Castle and Beav's Bar in Geelong and singing live on 3MDR.