Marsha Goodman-Wood is raising three kids as she writes, records and performs quality kids’ music — in this personal essay, she explains how she gets inspired in the midst of her triply busy days, and gets creative things done.
Once when we still had just two kids, we were driving on I-95 through Baltimore, right past a factory with tall towers pushing puffy white smoke into the sky. My son, who was three at the time, asked, “Is that a cloud factory?” An innocent question, a funny idea — could easily become the beginning of a short story or perhaps a song. For me, a singer/songwriter, where creativity’s concerned, it’s a matter of letting my imagination run and turning those silly and innocent yet accidentally brilliant questions or comments into something more. It’s not always easy to write a song as a busy mom (now of three), but I juggle multiple tasks most of the day, and it’s much more fun to think about getting a lyric just right while I’m washing those same dishes (again) or folding that same laundry (again) than to dwell on the next job that needs doing.
My daughter was our first arrival. Before she was born, I had been singing a lot of jazz and blues, so those classic jazz songs were always in my head. I sang them as lullabies, or during diaper changes, along with the ABC’s and whatever kids songs came to mind. One day while spooning some veggies for my baby daughter, those influences of jazzy songs and kids songs came together. It was probably pureed carrots; perhaps I was thinking about what I would make for a grownup dinner too. So in the interest of keeping my daughter happy while I was working in the kitchen, I started vamping the melody for “Spinach & Carrots,” a baby-entertaining improv tune that, like most great blues songs, is based on vegetables. Now, nine years later, it’s one of the nine songs on my debut kindie record.