Where do you find the best writing? On a honky tonk jukebox.


I DON’T FIND the best writing tucked away on the shelves in libraries.

It doesn’t exist in bookstores either.

I find the best writing of all on down-home, home-grown, down the road Texas beer joint jukeboxes where you’re always looking for love in all the wrong places.

Authors don’t always write the best stories.

Country songwriters do.

Authors take three hundred pages, more or less, to lay down a good story, and a songwriter can capture it in thirty lines or less.

drinking-beerJust sit for a while and listen to the poetry of such great story lines as:

*I put a bar in my car so I can drive myself to drink.

*Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life.

*I won’t get over her till the grass grows over me.

*Her woman’s intuition told here I was into wishing she would leave.”

*I want you to love me like my dog does, baby.

*I bought the shoes that just walked out on me.

*I went back to my fourth wife for the third time so she would have a second chance to make a first-class fool out of me.

*If you want to keep your beer cold, put it next to my ex-wife’s heart.

*Tequila makes her clothes fall off.

*All the girls who turn me on turn me down.

*Get your tongue out of my mouth because I’m kissing you goodbye.

*I gave her my heart and a diamond, and she clubbed me with a spade.

*How come your dog don’t bite nobody but me.

*You tore out my heart and stomped that sucker flat.

“If the jukebox took teardrops, I’d be crying all night long.

My good friend and fellow country picker John Nickols, who teaches history at Howard Payne University out in Brownwood, Texas, sent me a collection of the top country lyrics of all time. Or at least it’s one man’s opinion.

Want to be a good writer?

Just watch how these old boys can tangle their words together.

Every line would make a great hook to open a novel.

*I ain’t never gone to bed with an ugly woman, but I woke up with a few.

*If the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.

*I’ve missed you, but my aim’s improving.

*I wouldn’t take her to a dogfight  ‘cause I’m scared she might win.

*I’m so miserable without you it’s like you’re still here.

*My wife ran off with my best friend, and I miss him.

*I gave her a ring, and she gave me the finger.

* She’s looking better with every beer.

*It’s hard to kiss the lips at night that chewed my ass all day.

Songs are like novels.

Nothing is sacred or off limits.

It’s more like Fifty Shades of Beer.

It’s just imagination gone wild.

Of course, most of these were written by bitter, broken-hearted, beer-crying old boys who just lost the ones they loved.

I bet you ladies out there can write better lyrics.

You ought to give it a try.

After all, it was Loretta Lynn who sung: You’re the reason our kids are ugly.

And she was probably right.

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  • ‘Why me, Lord?’

    So many good songs. I like the mellow, melodic, deep songs that come from someone’s broken heart and are sung that way.

    ‘Give me the roses while I live.’

    If I’m not careful, I’ll go off on a tangent here, and you won’t see me for days. Country music is amazing. (Not all of it.)

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Alicia, my favorite line of all is: “I’d trade all of my tomorrows for a single yesterday, holding Bobbie’s body next to mine.” The story is, Kris Kistofferson was sitting in a Nashville bar, and someone walked up and dropped a napkin in front of him. On it was written: “Me and Bobbie McGee.” The friend said: “Here’s your next hit. Go write it.” Kris did.

  • Sally Berneathy

    “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”
    “You’ll only miss the man that you wanted him to be.”
    “My give-a-damn’s busted.”
    “Margie’s at the Lincoln Park Inn.”
    “Old dogs and children and watermelon wine.”
    “Nothing cold as ashes after the fire is gone.”
    “It’s a bloody Mary morning.”
    “I meant every word he said.”
    I love country music! A story in every line.

  • Joyce Gorum McGee

    Thanks for the good laugh…..You made my day!!!

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