Here's the scene:

I am scheduled to give a speech on spirituality and aging to a conference of librarians in Portland, Oregon. As often happens, I have a whole morning before I have to present. I have my baritone ukulele with me--it's easier to deal with on planes. I have a pad of paper and pencil. I have a song title I have been mulling over for a few days--Ms Dynamite. The title came to me from watching my wife, Sheila. She's a can-do person who sees things that need doing in the world and does them. That's one of the things I love about her.

So, I'm in my nicely appointed hotel room on the fourth floor overlooking a beautiful park with lots of very tall old trees. The sun is shining intermittently, as it often does in Portland. Looking at my title, I think "This song needs a lot of energy, so I'll try a blues shuffle." I try a shuffle in E. Yeah, that's it, and the words start coming...

E She's a whirlwind of energy, a mass of concentration

A7 When she puts her mind to a task, she'll brook no intervention

E She keeps her sense of humor BUT no mistaking her intention

A7 I call her Ms Dynamite, the mistress of invention

E Ms Dynamite B7 Ms TNT A7 renewable energy E Ms Dynamite


I run through this segment a couple of times and it seems to work. Then more words come and I hurriedly write them down.


If you need something organized, if you need to find what's right

If you need a bigger heart, or someone to share your fight 

If you need someone to welcome folks, or someone with INsight

The mistress of invention's here, I call her dynamite

Ms Dynamite, Ms TNT, renewable energy, Ms Dynamite


If you need to raise some money for a wholly worthy cause

If you need to raise a crowd to get some much-needed applause

If you need someone to make a pitch without a single pause

Ms Dynamite can bring it off without breaking any laws

Ms Dynamite, Ms TNT, renewable energy, Ms Dynamite

Ms Dynamite, Ms TNT, renewable energy, Ms Dynamite


About thirty minutes have gone by and I have a new song.

This happened about 18 months ago, and since then I have performed this song many times and just recently recorded it. It's always a crowd favorite, because everyone knows a Ms Dynamite and can relate.

The lessons in this for me are that songs don't have to be long to be true and songs can come out fully formed. I love it when that happens. 

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