Root-a-toot Tavi, Ideas and All

Writers are asked, “Where do you get your ideas?””

The thing is every one of us get ideas all the time. The difference between the creative artists and the rest? We listen. When we have an idea we think is interesting, we don’t judge whether it is a good idea or a bad one. We take it out and play with it for a while.

And don’t forget it’s all about the play. We say musicians play, not musicians work. Actors role play, not role work. When we writers forget we are playing, not working, that is when we have a case of the writer’s block.

Once we are finished playing, we are not the best judge of whether the results are good or bad. Whether it worked or not.

I once heard the screenwriter William Goldman assert the same thing. He said that making movies was always risky. No one knew whether a movie would be well-received or not. Then he told the story about a movie he wrote the screenplay for: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. After the movie was released, he and the director were walking down the street in New York City one evening. They saw this line around the block. When they found out that the line was to “Butch Cassidy”, they were surprised. Pleasantly so. But still surprised.

And when you play, accidents happen. During a session in a recording studio, Bob Dylan was working on “Like a Rolling Stone”. The musicians took a break. Al Kooper was just hanging out. During the break, he sat down at the organ and started playing around. Dylan walked back into the room and said, “That’s it.” That organ music Kooper played became the beginning of the song.

All creativity is risky. So take a chance and be brave. Nothing is more fun, and rewarding, than playing with an idea. If you don’t believe me, look at how many creatives have long lives. That kind of playing keeps us young.

And the more you listen the more the ideas come. It’s a big sandbox out here. So do yourself a favor. The next idea you have, try playing with it. Who knows? You might be just as surprised as I was when I got “Root-a-toot tavi, I’m so savvy,” I just had to play with it. Here are the results:

Root-a-toot Tavi

Root-a-toot tavi
I’m so savvy
So savvy as all

Swinging on a star
Being who I are
Having me a ball

Root-a-toot chili
Burgers on the grilly
Cook’s standing tall

Running up the hilly
Jack and Jilly
Going to the mall

Root-a-toot billy
I’m so silly
Dancing down the hall

So just look up
Drink from the cup
Spring, summer and fall

Root-a-toot wavy
Stir up the gravy
Step out for the call

Lighter feet, baby
Don’t step heavy
Do give it your all

Root-a-toot tootsy
Don’t give a hoot-sy
Go break down that wall

Kick up your boot-sy
And doodley scoot-sy
Never ever stall

Root-a-toot dabby
Be kind of fabby
John, George, Ringo, Paul

Go catch a cabby
Take a trip happy
Have yourself a ball.

How about you? Any ideas lately?

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: Anni in the Wind

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is “Anni in the Wind” by Norton Buffalo:

Norton Buffalo, singer, song writer and the best darned harmonica player you ever heard, is no longer with us. He sure could play a mean harp. I first saw him years ago on Austin City Limits. What a wonderful musician he was. So here’s one of his good’uns. Enjoy.

Politics in America 41: Another Shot Heard Round the World 

You’ve heard the saying, “Oops, there goes another rubber tree.” Well, it’s that time in this story to say, “Oops, there goes another rubber tree.” And Thomas Jefferson couldn’t have said it better himself.

There was this bullet meant for Bessie Mae Hogg. Big Al Fresco had sent Stever The Cleaver to eliminate the pig. Well, not eliminate the pig. Just give her a scratch. This would take the President’s mind off invading Canada. At the last minute, Big Al realized that The Cleaver was a Canadian.

Rule Number One: When hiring an assassin to near assassinate a Presidential pig, please check where the assassinator is from. Big Al had not done that.

When he realized his mistake, Big Al Fresco decided to take things into his own hands. A second time. You would think he would learn that the Pickled Finger of Fate never leaves a situation alone. The problem for him and us is that we never ever know where it’s going to point. We never know when we will end up as fungus between a dinosaur’s toes. As Old Murphy used to say, “What must go wrong, must go wrong.” Things were about to go wrong. For Stever The Cleaver. For Big Al Freso. For the President of the United States.

It was a dark and stormy night as Big Al snuck up on The Cleaver. Stever was aiming his gun at the pig when whop. Big Al tackled him. The gun went off. Instead of heading for the pig, the bullet headed for the President in the Presidential wee wee room.

It sped through the keyhole just as the President zipped up and turned and lifted his foot to re-tie his shoe lace. The bullet smashed into the shoe and took out the President’s bunion. The bunion that had been hurting for over a week. That bunion. Then the bullet crashed into the Presidential wee wee room wall and there it stopped. P F Sneaze’s bunion was attached to it.

In the Oval Office, the Vice President and the Ambassador from Some-Godforsaken-Place-He-Couldn’t-Pronounce heard a gigantic sigh of relief coming from the President’s wee wee room. For the first time in weeks, that bunion didn’t hurt. The President’s foot finally had some relief.

Needless to say that bunion was not about to become the Comeback Kid.

Next Week It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. 

The Mail Order Bride

The farm. Well, it’s not a farm really. It’s where we live. My five children and I. My wife died a year ago when she was having Eleazar. We buried her over by the well house behind that small smattering of trees. Esther was twenty-four. We had been married ten years. I thought about leaving and moving to town, but this here farm is our livelihood and our life.

This farm which I inherited from Papa. Papa’s brother, my Uncle Elisha, said that I needed a new bride—a wife for me and a mother for the children, a woman to keep my loins warm.

I found this here Mail Order Bride Catalog at the General Store, looked through it, found myself a good woman—someone who looked like she could hold up through the winter—and I sent for her.

Tomorrow she arrives on the train from St. Louis. Me and the children and Uncle Elisha will hitch up the buggy and go into town and meet the noon train. That will give us enough time to get home before dark.

The Preacher will come and marry us next month. Me and my new wife and the kids and the neighbors will have ourselves a picnic to celebrate.

Next month is planting. She said in one of her letters she was raised on a farm. She knows all about farms. She is sixteen and seems plenty eager for a husband and children.

Before we leave for town, I visit Ruth’s grave as I do every Sunday. I thank her for the life she gave me in this here wilderness and tell her I miss her and tell her that she will never be replaced in my affections by another. She will always be my first love. I tell her of this new woman, how it was Uncle Elisha’s idea, how she will be my bride and the children’s other mother. I tell her that the children need a mother and hope she understands.

Then we hitch up the horse to the buggy and head on in to town.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creative Artist: Cream

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creative Artist is the band Cream:

Cream’s Badge

I’ve been thinking a lot about Cream lately.  It’s the fiftieth anniversary of their first album, “Fresh Cream”. When they released the album, I asked a friend why Cream. He responded that they were the cream of the crop when it came to music. He was right.

I can’t think of a better way to begin 2017 than feature Cream as my first Spotlight Creative Artist. Made up of bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker, the three made music the rock world had never heard anything like before. Influenced by blues, jazz, rock and folk, their music could be loud as Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records attested. It never was something other than pure music.

Dip your ears into the river of Cream and experience some great music.