Thursday, November 3, 2011

And Then!... I Don't Know What Happens Next. I Have Writer's Block.

Have you guys met my friend Elise aka @NoBagels?  She blogs at Things That Are Not Bagels.  She's hilarious, and I suspect a spy, even though she claims otherwise, because her name is not really Elise.  Anyway, if you don't know her you should.  Because she saved my life once.

True story.  I was about to be eaten my an alligator and she twatted me, which is to say she sent me a tweet.  How exactly did that save my life?  Well you see I was dreaming about being eaten my an alligator.  Now you may argue she didn't save my life because it was only a dream.  But not so.  See alligators are just like Freddy Krueger.  If they kill you in your sleep, they kill you in real life.  This is basic science.

She's also the smartest person in the history of persons.

Why?  Well...

I sent a tweet to @jenannhall of Just Jennifer saying I had writer's block and wondered if she had any advice.  She responded by asking whether I'd had anything remotely healthy in the last several days.  I struggled to make the connection, but she's a mom and they worry about things like that.

Well @notbagels jumped in and said that in order to cure writer's block I should do the following:

1. Listen to 4 "story" country songs
2. Write 1500 words about one of them
3. Drink wine
4. Return to work

I was dubious about the 1500 words, because HELLO I can't even manage to write one, but she did save my life, so I figured she knew what she was talking about.  So I took her advice.  However, I combined steps one and three.  I figure the sooner wine is involved (no matter what the situation) the better.

The first song I listened to was You and Tequila Make Me Crazy by Kenny Chesney featuring Grace Potter.

At first I was super confused.  I was all, "the husband?  I didn't know you wrote songs."

You want to know what phrase, besides "I love you" the husband says to me most often?

"You drive me crazy."

Aww, thanks honey.  You make me crazy too.

While I found this song to be super sweet - it was a love song from the husband to me, after all - it wasn't exactly a "story" song as @notbagels instructed.

I knew just the song I needed: Don't Take the Girl by Tim McGraw.

Not only is it a good story song, it is the song that made people think I was a lesbian.

Perhaps I should explain.

Which I will do.

But first let's listen to the song.

Johhny's daddy was taking him fishing
When he was eight years old
A little girl came through the front gate
holding a fishing pole.

His dad looked down and smiled
said we can't leave her behind
Son I know you don't want her to go
But some day you'll change your mind

No Dad!  Don't do it!  Leave her behind!  Trust me on this.  This is only going to end badly.

And Johnny said
Take Jimmy Johnson

The racecar driver? Yeah, I'm pretty sure he's not going to go, but nice try Johnny.

Take Tommy Thompson

Yes! Great idea Johnny.  Take him.  Even though he's a little jerk who puts frogs in Mrs. Gillicutty's desk drawer.

Take my best friend Bo.

He's not that great of a friend Johnny, but yes!  Take him!  Anyone's better than that blonde haired blue eyed Sally with the tough exterior and the sweet heart.  She's only eight but wow can she cook a mean apple pie.  And her skin is so soft.  Not that you should be touching her.  You're eight years old, Johnny.  For crying out loud child, get your act together.

I wanted to say " get your shit together" but it seems wrong, somehow, to curse at an eight year old.  Good call, me.

Take anybody that you want, as long as she don't go.
Take any boy in the world, Daddy please...
Don't take the girl

If only your father had listened to you Johnny.
You know that saying, father knows best?
Not true, Johnny.  Not true.

Same old boy, same sweet girl
Ten years down the road
He held her tight and kissed her lips
in front of the picture show

Stranger came and pulled a gun
Grabbed her by the arm
Said if you do what I tell you to
There won't be any harm

Run Johnny run!  Leave the bitch behind!

And Johnny said,
Take my money, take my wallet
Take my credit card

Really Johnny?  Is she worth that twenty-seven fifty you have in your wallet?  I highly doubt it.

Here's the watch that my Grandpa gave me.

No Johnny!  Not the watch! Your Grandpa gave it to your Grandma when he left to fight the Nazi's.  It was his promise to her that he'd come back.  She'd lay awake at night listening to the tick of the hands.  As long as it ticked, she knew his heart was still beating.

Keep the watch Johnny!  Give up the girl!

Here's the key to my car.
Mister give it a whirl, but please...
don't take the girl

Seriously?  It's a 1957 corvette.  You don't know it now, but one day that will be a classic.  Honestly, have you seen the red leather interior?  Men today would give up their left testicle for that car and you're willing to give it up for some broad with a nice rack?

Priorities Johnny!

Same old boy, same sweet girl
Five years down the road
There's going to be a little one
And she says it's time to go.

Way to knock her up there, champ.

Doctor says the baby's fine
But you'll have to leave
Cause his momma's fading fast

What kind of jerk doctor doesn't let you stay to say goodbye?  She's the love of his life, doctor!

Sheesh.  Some people just don't understand love.

And Johnny hit his knees and then he prayed
Take the very breath you gave me
Take the heart from my chest
I'll gladly take her place if you let me
Make this my last request
Take me out of this world
God please...
Don't take the girl.

Great.  Are you happy Johnny?  I'm freaking crying over here.  Tears.  Streaming down my face.  You're lucky I'm not wearing mascara.

Johnny's daddy was taking him fishing
When he was eight years old.

Yeah yeah.  We know how that ends.  Thanks, Johnny's dad.  Thanks a whole freaking lot.

So why did this story make people think I was a lesbian?

Well in college, my friend A and I were listening to it while lying in her small twin bed and when the song was over we turned and just looked at each other.  We were devastated!  But it was at that moment one of her hallmates came in.  To see us gazing at each other.  She slowly backed out of the room.

Rumors started to swirl after that.

But we showed them!  We dragged every girl into my friend's dorm room and made them listen to this song.  There were tears everywhere.

College was fun.

I'm not sure if I've reached 1500 words yet, but I'm definitely drunk.  And sorta sad... which is exactly the emotion of my main character in my current work in progress.

Off to go write!

Thanks Elise aka @notbagels.  You've saved me again!


  1. This cracked up! That song is so sappy and I've heard it a million times and it still makes me cry. Maybe next time I hear it I will think of this post and laugh instead.

  2. I've never heard this song. I'd probably cry, I cry at everything. And, yes, Elise-who-is-not-really-Elise-but-is-probably-a-spy is awesome.

  3. Oh I see how it is. Elise is the saviour and I'm just a silly mom who asks silly questions. Pfft. Whatever.

    This may or may not have been awesome.

  4. Great. Now I'm going to have that damn song in my head! But I'm not going to cry. The only song that makes me cry is "Whiskey Lullaby" by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss.
    When I was pregnant, every song made me cry. More than once, my boss walked into my office and wondered who just died.

  5. I'm probably the only one who hasn't heard that song but I have to say, your rant on what Johnny and his father should do is hysterical. Very funny post. I laughed all the way through. Glad you lost your writer's block and you have tremendous writing friends to thank. Okay, now I better listen to that song.

  6. That wasn't *quite* what I meant. But if it worked, I can't say anything bad about your method. ;) I about choked laughing, so I think it worked...

  7. I'd like an explanation as to why I was not mentioned when it's SO OBVIOUS I'm the reason you dream about alligators eating you! I'm now storming out in a huff and slamming the door!

  8. Have you ever wondered why country song writers feel the need to kill everyone off?
    Ever heard the song "Christmas shoes"? It's the most depressing song ever.

  9. Man.... I HATE country songs! They make me feel a little nauseated from the saccharine nostalgia, and really deeply sad at the same time. I hope that exercise helped you to write, because it pretty much ruined my morning and at least one of us should get something out of it.

  10. If I ever write a country song, I am going to write the saddest dribble ever, hand it over to you for the commentary, then I am going to have someone else sing the commentary. Because I am terrible at singing, that's why.

  11. Did I mention you ruined my morning with this song? I had stuff to do today and everything.

    What was that song where the guy went out in his pickup truck and his grandma got "runned over by the danged ole train"? Why couldn't you have used that one instead? I gotta go take a Xanax.

  12. Never mind the previous comment, I just went over to Things that are not bagels and saw the cutest picture of a cat! I'm all better now. In case anyone was worried.

  13. Mostly, I don't like country, but once in a while, I can handle it, and I do like the way songs can tell a story. That song you picked - hilarious! (Maybe not the way it was written, but with your comments.)

    My favorite is OLD - Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty - You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly. Because who doesn't appreciate a sweet and sentimental love ballad?

  14. I read that writer's block may be caused when the writer isn't taking the time to allow their mind to play.
    Let your mind play, again. Good luck.


  15. Yes, that song makes me cry every time, no matter how little (or much) wine I've had. If it makes you feel any better, my best friend at work is a 52 year old lesbian, and she kicks ass. Is that weird? Not the ass kicking part, the part about my best friend being a lesbian the same age as my mom...

  16. And I'm not sure why that would make you feel better. Or maybe it did, in which case, disregard.

  17. I love that cure for writer's block. Hope the writing is flowing now!


  18. Glad you got the scribe juices flowing again. I know it sounds silly to most, I only started getting writers block when I quit the AP. When you're on deadline, writers block isn't an option. You just write through it. Now when I feel stalled, I just start writing, even if it's my random thoughts and soon it's like I cleared my throat and then I can write. I just have to get out of my headspace.

  19. I like that song even better with your commentary! Good choice mixing #1 and #3. Well played!

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