When one decides to write you may want to include quotes from you favorite books, lyrics from songs or pictures and artwork. What is quite necessary is to get permission to use such portions of work even if it is only one line or lyric. Towards the end of my book, an important character to my heroine is lost, and I found myself writing about not only her loss but the loss of my mother as well. Specifically about one of the last things I did while she was in hospice. I remember her singing “You are my Sunshine” by Jimmie Davis to me. As I held her hand lying on one side of her, and my older sister on the other, I sang a few lyrics of the song to her.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey.
You never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
Four short lyrics, something I could have removed from the book and avoided tracking down the copyright holder, contacting the recording company, asking for the use, explaining why, purchasing the freedom to use it…all of that I could have avoided if only I took those lines out- and I did consider doing just that. In fact it was down to the wire, the book was in formatting and my formatter on hold for me to add or keep the lyrics out. One night my youngest daughter, who was born after my mother’s passing didn’t speak very clearly yet, sang those lines to me as clear and beautiful as day. Her smile so bright and her soul singing along with her. At that moment I knew my mom was a part of her, in her smile, her beautiful voice and her strength and stubbornness. I couldn’t help the tears that came, and the decision solidified at that moment- words now forever within my passages and my words of love, loss and hope…My Mother’s Song, My Daughter’s Song and Alex’s Song.