Rights offering detail :
Daughter of a Song
July 21, 2020
Sarah Curtis
Non-fiction: Narrative
Daughter of a Song tells the story of growing up with my father, a musician named Sonny Curtis who rose from the Dust Bowl and into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Born in a twelve-by-twenty-foot dugout near the hard, flat plains of Lubbock, Texas, my father picked cotton as a kid, pretty much taught himself how to play a six-string, joined a high school band with a lanky friend named Buddy Holly, opened for a Hillbilly Cat named Elvis, and wrote the song, “I Fought the Law.” And that was just by the time he turned twenty-two.

But Daughter of a Song is not a highlight reel of my father’s remarkable life and career—though parts of it do bear the qualities of the American dream. Rather, it is a memoir that weaves our two stories, through my father’s early musical roots in West Texas, to the drug-fueled Hollywood hippie scene where he met my mother, to a remote farm outside Nashville, where I’d watch him spend years seeking a level of fame he never quite achieved. The book will conclude with my life as a left-leaning mother in Michigan, reconciling my father’s past with my present.

Part narrative journey, part biography, Daughter of a Song raises timeless questions. Why are we lured by fame, even when it threatens to destroy us? Why did my father stop writing songs at the height of his songwriting career? What does it mean to achieve artistic success? And how do we claim our own stories under the shadow of our parents?

By blending the skills of journalism (interviews, research, travel) with the reflection of memoir, Daughter of a Song opens beyond my personal story to grapple with a larger narrative: the story of a boy born without a name who was saved by music, and the daughter who strives to sing her own song. Through it all, I will examine cultural inheritance, the cost of fate and fame, the push and pull of the land, and the miracle of art.
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