I It was a hot July 4, 2008.
The news was full of stories about people losing their jobs and losing
their homes. Gas and oil prices were higher than they'd ever been.
Food costs were skyrocketing. The stock market and economy were as bad as
they've ever been since the Depression. We were at war in the Middle East.
And in the few years since 9/11, our moral standing in the world had
declined precipitously. Yet, amid all that news, I read that they were
going to be re-opening the crown of the Statue of Liberty for the first time
since 9/11. We are ultimately a nation of hope.
I started thinking of our country as a young girl, with
the idealism and fire of youth giving way to less noble things in later years,
but in seeing that about herself, a renewed hope was born.
I had just finished writing a chapter in my songwriting
book about "white space", which is how the spacing between words affects their
meaning. I saw that the only thing needed to lyrically personify our
country as a girl/woman is a slight shift in white space from
"I, America" to "I Am Erica". The spacing of the words changes as
the song progresses.
The images in the verses came from many sources in current
events, closed business I've seen in many cities, and a tip of the hat to
the title of great song by James McMurtry, "You Can't Make It Here
The song was included in a collection of patriotic songs
issued by the Connecticut Songwriters Association called "An American Sampler".
One of the most patriotic things any citizen can do is to raise up for
discussion those things which are not right with our country, so that we can
make them better. That's what they did in 1776. That's what we can
You can get the song on the compilation CD
of Americana, Nostalgia, and Patriotic songs
"An American Sampler"
Click here for Lyrics