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Without The Music

“I am rock and roll, Got a jukebox for a soul, I am rock and roll, Got a jukebox for a soul” FeatherLeaf

It took over thirty years of my life to write “Without The Music” and it’s not because I write slow. 

music photo“Without The Music” spans over thirty years of my life. It includes around five hundred song lyrics. There is rock, pop, country, Christian, folk and yes even a rap song. I have gone through my files and gleaned the finest. Whether you simply love good writing or your a composer/musician looking for a  hit song, this is essential.

These lyrics chronicle my life. They tell of events, lost friends, broken hearts, some fiction, my distorted views on life and of course my mental illness. I am not sure how many songs deal directly with my mental illness but there are definitely some. The first song lyric I quote continues to examine my time inside of Graystone psychiatric hospital.

“Spent time in dorm sixty-two, Searching my mind for what is true, The doctor’s tell me what to think, The place smells it’s a real stink, They gave me some yellow pills, Told me it will cure my ills” FeatherLeaf

Dorm sixty-two was the first dormitory that a person goes to when they are admitted to Graystone. Though my mental illness is a powerful force in my life it is not a defining factor. That is I am a multi-faceted person with deeper dimensions. I put my Christianity, my wife, my arts, my friends, my family, and some other things in front of my mental illness. Of course, having a chemical imbalance it is always important to make sure I keep the chemicals coming in.

The idea for “Without The Music” came many years ago. I had all my old lyrics stored in the basement of my apartment building. The works had survived a long stay in the steamy hot attic of where I grew up. When superstorm Sandy inflicted Montclair, New Jersey the basement got flooded. I managed to salvage my lyrics. Later on, when I decided to type them the bulk of them was put on a file called “Without The Music.” I continued to write lyrics and this collection contains my first attempt to the last one written before compiling the book.

I am very happy to say that my writing skills improved over time. And it is my humble opinion that my ability has not yet reached a peak. I am constantly listening to music and dissecting the words to learn the secrets hidden in plain sight. The art of the lyric writing is to capture something memorable in the simplistic. Of course, there are hard rules to abide by such as keeping the meter, rhyming, and a chorus with a great hook.

“Without The Music” certainly has some exceptional songs that I believe with some good music could go on the radio maybe even some hits. That is a very bold statement and I think that time will prove me not to be a liar. I pride myself on the uniqueness of my art. I don’t try to copy for too long. When I was reading the ‘masters’ of poetry my writing would be greatly influenced by the artist I was examining. I would try to replicate their style. This really can’t be done with song lyrics as the writers are on such a high level. Sit down and try to write a song Bob Dylan or Neil Young would be proud of.

I have noticed in my writing that my work goes through quantum leaps. As the time goes on the quality just improves. What I considered a great song from the past becomes a good song for today. However, it is very hard to be critical of one’s own work.

Finally, I write song lyrics for the sheer enjoyment. When I first got sick I had a very valid fear that I would never be able to return to the workforce or even finish college. I was going back into psychiatric hospitals even when I was faithfully taking my medicine. As such, I strove to write a hit song thinking that it would meet my financial needs.

So please show me your support and check out what I consider the most meaningful piece of art that I will ever produce. It is available in hard copy or kindle.

Without The Music

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). Without The Music. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 17, 2019, from


Last updated: 29 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Jul 2018
Published on All rights reserved.