More on Writing: Evocative Phrases, Lyrics, and Prose

I love short specific lines that are so evocative of a day and time and moment.  I listen to a lot of Jason Isbell’s music.  He does this all the time.

“Dreamsicle on a summer night in a folding lawn chair…”

Just like that, it’s 1987 and I’m a first grader with a sparkler on the 4th of July.  How do writers do that?  What makes it work?

I love to think about these things. 

I don’t think that I’ve come close to Isbell’s lyrics but it’s fun to try.  I know this has come through in my writing. I’m not prepared today with a work sample! I wonder if I might give it a try before the end of the month.  Not that I’ll write a song, but perhaps aim for that same short evocative use of language.

What do you notice in the lyrics or prose you are seeing/hearing these days?

5 thoughts on “More on Writing: Evocative Phrases, Lyrics, and Prose

Add yours

  1. What a phrase … ““Dreamsicle on a summer night in a folding lawn chair…”
    Just “dreamsicle” brings up a variety of images.
    Words matter.
    Which words/phrases grab our attention? ❤


  2. Composers, song writers are magicians—not all of them, but so many. Even pop stars—Bob Dylan NOT among this crowd—can have those stunning moments. (Okay, I confess, I love Taylor and her lines can bring me to tears.) I love the challenge you pose here, too. Fifteen days remain, so…


  3. I too love that dreamsicle phrase. It speaks of summer and watching clouds changing shape.
    As someone who has read your writing each day this month I believe you have been attempting to capture words like Jason AND have been successful many times!


  4. If I had a small fraction of Jason Isbell’s ability to capture so much in so few words, I’d be a happy writer. I live in north Alabama about 50 miles from where he grew up, and the way his writing reflects this place is amazing. Thanks for sharing this!


  5. Couple writing lyrics with the tempo/rhythm of the music and yeah, that is genius. Thanks for bringing this up. Songwriting is its own level of genius, isn’t it. I remember being in college trying to analyze favorite songs with my friends. Those moments still come back to me when I hear certain songs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: