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?

A Satirical Thanksgiving Song

There’s many reasons to be thankful. I, for one, am thankful for satire. It keeps me humble.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentle Girls

God rest ye merry gentle girls,
Let nothing you dismay,
Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas,
He was born Thanksgiving Day.
There were no sheep or sheperds,
Only turkeys came to pray.
Oh sure, there were the wise men,
At Massachusetts Bay.

The Pilgrims came by a ship,
Mayflower was its name,
Least that’s what we’ve been told
By those in history’s game.
Pilgrims came with Columbus,
So he could have his day,
And we could have a Thanksgiving
The good, old American way.

Ben Franklin scared the zombies,
Told them to fly a kite.
Abe Lincoln killed the vampires
“Fore they could go out and bite.
A blue-eyed, blonde-haired Jesus,
He’s really the god for us.
If you don’t accept our Jesus,
We’ll kick you off the bus.

Umbrella Blues

A pickin’ and grinnin’ lyric just for you.

Rain come down
Pound by pound
On my spot
In the parking lot
Late for work
In my polo shirt
And denim jeans
Designing scenes

Oh, me. Oh, my.
I’m an unlucky fellow
Oh, my. Oh, me.
Where’s my umbrella?

From where I sit
Wet I’ll get
If I go
To paint that show
I’m painting the film
Of Jungle Jim
Up a tree
With monkeys

Oh, me. Oh, my.
I’m an unlucky fellow
Oh, my. Oh, me.
Where’s my umbrella?

Lost my job
Sitting in my Ford
Waiting on the rain
Being a pain
Unemployed
I’m annoyed
Lost my car
Cash au revoired

Oh, me. Oh, my.
I’m an unlucky fellow
Oh, my. Oh, me.
Where’s my umbrella?

Umbrella blues
For me and you
When it storms
The water performs
So don’t forget
You’ll be wet
You’ll discover
Without your cover.

Oh, me. Oh, my.
I’m an unlucky fellow
Oh, my. Oh, me.
Where’s my umbrella?

The Great Blue Lonesome

My heart’s sailing out on a high tide
Into the waters of the great blue lonesome
The mountains and the valleys of the waves
Have taken down ships much stronger than mine

There’s way too much sea out here to cross
Continents of water and nary an island
Seems like I”m sailing my heart, getting nowhere
Hoping for a beach and a little patch of sand

My heart’s off into dangerous waters
An iceberg out to take the Titanic
Terrors of the deep and Moby Dick
Sharks circling and my heart’s in a panic

Then one moment of magic and sun
Just when it looks like it’s going to storm
A clash of the sea and I’m overboard
The waters part, my heart’s on shore again

And it’s goodbye to the great blue lonesome
Since Cupid tapped me on the shoulder
No more diddly-squatting for me
I’ve found true love and friendly waters

Story Man

If I have a theme song, this might be it,

I am a story man
Riding through the sky
In search of a story
In the great far and wide

Over the horizon
A distance away
A feast of stories
On a table they lay

When I take a bite
Of a Once-upon-a-time
Will it be a main course
With the finest of wines

Or an appetizer
Or the just desserts
Will it be a romance
With its own little quirk

Will it be the sweeter
Or will it be bitter
Will it be a summer
Or will it be winter

Will it have a desert
Or a walk in the snow
Will there be a fire
Wherever I go

Will it have a monster
A Mister Cyclops
Or a boy named Jack
Doing the beanstalk hop

Or a Cinderella
Who lost a shoe
At the Midnight Ball
Oh my, what could she do?

Many are the stories
The Once-upon-a-times
So choose one or two
And follow their rhymes

To laugher and tears
And ice cream cakes
In a land of wonder
So come fill your plate

I am a story man
Riding through the sky
In search of a story
In the great far and wide