A charming romantic comedy, Music & Lyrics explores the unlikely romantic sparks between a “washed up, has been” 80s pop star and an aspiring young lyricist who has lost her confidence after a ruthless critique by her former lover and college literary professor. Though at its heart a romance, it’s also a story of untapped potential and fear of criticism.

A former heartthrob who throws his hip out doing “old moves,” Alex Fletcher is desperate for a big break to get him back on the music scene. He just doesn’t expect it to come in the form of Sophie Fisher, a woman who enters to water his plants and exits two minutes later mumbling about antiseptic after his cactus stuck her finger. Given the chance for a big break by writing a breakout hit for a popular pop artist, he hires a lyricist… and discovers Sophie has a natural gift for words. She can compose beautiful rhymes without even thinking about it. Delighted, Alex recruits her, but finds the more pressure he puts on her, the more blocked she becomes.

Through difficulties, the duo find a natural musical chemistry together… and then have an enormous fight that revolves around Sophie’s lack of self confidence, and Alex’s willingness to “sell out” for fame. All rom-coms reach an inevitable point where it all goes wrong, and this is no exception. To Sophie, what they wrote is meaningful. Beautiful. To let a blonde deface it is an affront. Rather than admit he’s willing to part with authenticity for popularity, Alex whips out hurtful accusations—he read the book her ex-lover / professor wrote about her, and agrees with its conclusions. Sophie is not an original talent, but a feeble imitation of a writer. He tears open a gaping wound in their relationship that may never recover. Out she storms, possibly forever.

Throughout, the story focuses on the impact of words. Lyrics. Music. They form the rhythms of our lives. But it all revolves around the power of words. To lift up or tear down. To enlighten. To enrich. Or to destroy. Sophie trusted and loved a man who repaid her by writing a nasty book demeaning her talent and undermining her reputation. Those terrible words have haunted her ever since. Words etched into her soul. That she is nothing valuable. A feeble imitation. She can only echo other people’s genius. And when Alex throws them in her face, it hurts. Deeply.

Few of us stop to ponder the power of our words, but every syllable out of our mouth has the power to destroy. Cruel people do this on purpose. Careless people do it by accident. Angry people hurl around words like fiery arrows, intended to wound those they love. Once said, they cannot be unsaid. You can forgive them, but never erase them.

Alex, in a moment of anger, did the unforgivable, and used what Sophie told him in confidence to demoralize her. How realistic. Most people would do the same, given the chance and enough frustration. This story about “real” people, not cardboard cutouts. Not everyone is nice all the time, or even half the time. Yet, somehow, we continue to find friends and lovers. We open ourselves up to the chance of “being” hurt. Alex must work hard to win back Sophie. He has to stand up for their song. He has to reclaim it. He must atone. Her lyrics and his music draw them together. Sophie forgives him, but won’t forget it.

What she will remember is a fight, followed by Alex fighting for her.

We cannot take back our hurtful words or our mistakes. They stand as a testament to our human nature. But we can be more careful… and make amends. Genuine repentance is not just an apology, but doing the opposite. If you tear someone down with your words and later feel sorry for it, build them back up in a meaningful way.

The universe has a harmony to it. Some people are in tune with it, and others are out of rhythm. Imagine what beautiful music we could make, if we all watched our words.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charity Bishop devotes her free time to eating chocolate, debating theology with her friends, researching the Tudors, writing books, blogging, and searching for spiritual truth in all aspects of life.