Archive for Wordsmith Wednesday

Wordsmith Wednesday – Sharing Is Caring

The best part about books you love, authors you adore, is sharing them with others. We like to say things like, “Go read Storm Front by Jim Butcher, it’s awesome times a thousand,” and then leave it be. For those of us who collect books like other people collect stamps, we do not share the actual books except to a few select people. We’ve been burned before. We loaned our Douglas Adams collection to our best friend and never saw it again. Because their kids ate half the pages.

However, some people have passed our test. They borrowed our precious books and not only returned them, they kept the binding pretty and even shared some of their own collection in return. These are people we keep with us always. Which is why, even though I had barely spoken to him since we broke up, I loaned two books to my ex-boyfriend and didn’t bat an eye.

Yes, you read that right. I contacted my ex to see if he’d read the most recent two offerings in Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series. When I found out that he had NOT, I was horrified and immediately offered to loan him both books at once. Maybe we couldn’t hack it as a couple, but man are we sympatico as readers. He needed those books. I needed to share them.

 

Who have you shared with today?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Depression

Heavy topic, I know. Thing is, there are so many of us who suffer from depression that we can’t NOT talk about it. From those of us with the clinical kind to those of us with the situational kind to those who have loved ones in the grip of this monster, it’s a pervasive, crippling force that we all have to deal with. Shall we start with a definition?

 

via dictionary.coma condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

Until recently, I thought I had dealt with it since puberty. Looking back, I see that I was probably dealing with it long before that, puberty just ratcheted up the tension. At puberty I became aware of the possibility of suicide. Also, hormones. I have been in therapy, even been on medication. Unfortunately, the one time I found a medication that worked, my “doctor” decided that meant I was bi-polar and added an anti-psychotic to the cocktail. Hello, zombie hordes, behold your new queen!

I quit all the medication and therapy in disgust, feeling that the doctors working for county care didn’t want me to be well, just quiet. One good thing to come out of that time was overcoming the contemplation of suicide as an option. Because it is not. Ever. I’m not going to say that suicide damns your soul because to someone who is suicidal that just flat doesn’t matter. Here’s the cold truth. Your death won’t make the world a better place. In fact, it will make the world absolutely horrible for the people who love you. Yes, we exist. I include myself because even if I don’t know you, your death will break my heart. Why doesn’t matter.

Depression is a horrible ugly road to travel. The smallest thing can send us on a spiral down into an abyss of horror and pain. We can’t climb out, no matter how hard we try. Most days it’s all we can do to get out of bed in the morning. We pray for the Grim Reaper to show up and take us out of all this hurt even while we fear his appearance.

Here’s the good news. Just as the smallest thing can send us down, the smallest thing can also lift us up. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always a train. We can have good days.

 

How has depression touched your life? What do you do to battle your own demons?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story

Ghost Story (Butcher novel)

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I love reading. I mean, I’d rather read than do almost anything else. When my friend Laura handed me the book-on-CD of Storm Front, the first in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, I was very excited. Mostly because it was being read by James Marsters. Halfway in, I was hooked. I now own all the books and several of the books on CD.

Ghost Story is the thirteenth book in the series, and was just released. My mom and I both squealed with joy when it arrived from Amazon. Yes, you read that right. My 67-year-old mother squealed like a 13-year-old in anticipation of this book. I’ve read it through once already (in one day), and after I read it again for comprehension there might just be a spoilery review headed your way. Because, like Joss Whedon before him and George Lucas before him, Jim Butcher is my master now. If only I could figure out how to do that in the Star Wars font. Sigh.

What about you guys? What books, or series, turn you into a kid on Christmas morning the instant the get into your hot little hands? What author enthralls and entrances you the most?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Thursday Edition – Word of the Day – Lethargic

via Dictionary.com :

 

Lethargic –

[luh-thahr-jik] –adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or affected with lethargy;  drowsy;sluggish.
2. producing lethargy.

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Not Guilty

Yesterday, the verdict came down on the Casey Anthony trial. A nation was stunned as she was found not guilty of first degree murder even though she was found guilty of providing false information to the police.

The words “not guilty” are powerful ones. They can (and have) reduced people to tears of joy, disbelief, anger, and a whole host of other emotions.

My feelings on this explosive topic are varied. One thing I know for certain is that the defense attorneys did their job. All they had to do was create reasonable doubt. The prosecution had a far tougher job to do, because the burden of proof rested in their hands. In the end, they did not have enough solid evidence to convict. Everything they had was circumstantial.

In my opinion, with the evidence they had, they should not have tried for first degree murder on such a flimsy foundation. Granted, I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that one ought to have a rock-solid case before going for a conviction that could lead to the death penalty. There should be no shadow of doubt when lives hang in the balance.

I don’t know what the prosecutors and police know. I don’t even know what the defense knew. All I know is what the media told me, and they tried and convicted Casey Anthony before she even got to the courtroom. Yes, what I was shown of her behavior was strange and off-putting. However, the jury found her not guilty. The jury found her innocent of first degree murder.

Was she responsible for her child’s death? I think so. Caylee was only two years old. Casey was wholly responsible for her and anything that happened to her. Was she guilty of premeditated and willful murder? The courts have decided not.

Via Wikipedia, here are the degrees of murder under U.S. law:

First Degree Murder is any murder that is willful and premeditated. Felony Murder is typically first degree.

Second Degree Murder is a murder that is not premeditated or planned in advance.

Voluntary Manslaughter sometimes called a “Heat of Passion” murder, is any intentional killing that involved no prior intent to kill, and which was committed under such circumstances that would “cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed.” Both this and second degree murder are committed on the spot, but the two differ in the magnitude of the circumstances surrounding the crime. For example, a bar fight that results in death would ordinarily constitute second degree murder. If that same bar fight stemmed from a discovery of infidelity, however, it may be mitigated to voluntary manslaughter.

Involuntary Manslaughter stems from unintentional, but reckless or criminally negligent behavior. A drunk driving-related death is typically involuntary manslaughter. Note that the “unintentional” element here refers to the lack of intent to bring about the death. All three crimes above feature an intent to kill, whereas involuntary manslaughter is “unintentional,” because the killer did not intend for a death to result from his intentional actions.

 

With that knowledge, what are your thoughts on this case? What do the words “not guilty” mean to you? How did the media coverage color your opinion? Do you think Casey Anthony would have been found guilty of a lesser charge, such as involuntary manslaughter? What would have been your moment of reasonable doubt had you been on that jury, sequestered from the media and internet with only the evidence and the testimonies available to you?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Blogger Mash-Up

There are quite a few blogs that I read. Some are in my sidebar, and some are not. Thought I’d give y’all a mash-up so you can see who I go to for inspiration and entertainment.

In no particular order:

 

Kristen Lamb – The woman who started me on the current leg of my writer’s journey with a kick in the pants, humor, and friendship.

Rhona Bennett – aka Miss RnB – I stumbled onto her blog a short while ago and read her blog on motivation. I was hooked!

Amanda Rudd – A truly kindred spirit with a brilliant way of expressing her love affair with words.

Amy Sundberg – The most practical free spirit I’ve had the joy of reading.

Aaron Graham – His humor combined with his thoughtfulness makes you forget you’re learning something.

Cid Tyer – She’s so organized it sometimes makes me cross-eyed, and yet she balances it with an equal amount of creativity.

 

What about you, dear readers? What blogs do you recommend?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Effulgent

Today we have a word of the day: effulgent.

as per dictionary.com :

–adjective

shining forth brilliantly; radiant
It’s no secret that I like big words. Why use a ten-cent word when you can use a ten-dollar one? Like most writers, I collect words like this just in the hopes of dropping them into conversation, much less using them in my writing. This word comes courtesy of William the Bloody a.k.a. Spike, a vampire character in Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe. I’ve been re-watching the series and this word caught me again, made me smile, so I thought I’d share it.
What about y’all? What are some of your favorite ten-dollar words? Why? What do they mean?

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Spell Check Versus WE Check

There is no doubt that spell check is an awesome feature. It helps proofreading go miles faster, right? Unfortunately it, like us, is not perfect. Like myself, it does not catch homonyms (their, there, they’re). Oh sure, sometimes the grammar check will tag those, but not every time. It’s fabulous for catching my favorite word (weird) but sometimes I just type odd and move on because I don’t like seeing all that red on my documents. And really, who does?

The problem is, if a word is spelled correctly chances are the program won’t care if your “too” friends went “two”  the market “to” many times.  So, what’s the answer? After spell check, WE check.

I know we’re all in a hurry. More gadgets to manage our time, and yet we’ve become busier instead of the other way around. So delegate! Have someone you trust eyeball your manuscript/blog/whatever for problems if you don’t have the time.

Our words represent us. If we put something out there that looks hastily put together, we look lazy, absent-minded, or (worst of all) incompetent. Nobody wants that, right?

Of course, I started thinking about this topic when scanning this blog and finding all sorts of little flubs peppered throughout. Mea culpa maxima! So, learn from my mistakes, and let’s all prove that we’re a hard-working, focused, capable slice of humanity.

What words do you always stumble on? What homonyms make you want to tear out your hair? Most importantly, where have you seen these sorts of mistakes on the web and what did it make you think about the person who wrote it?

This PSA brought to you by the letters i, o, u, and the number 42!

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Old 97s – Doreen – guest blog by Nigel Blackwell

I was stunned and inspired by the way a new friend of mine was able to apply his writer’s sensibility to the dissection of song lyrics. So please welcome our guest blogger, Mr. Nigel Blackwell!

If it can ever be said that I grew up, I did it listening to the Beatles, the Sex Pistols, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Squeeze and everything in between. I ended up with a mixture of musical tastes. There are some that would say “taste” isn’t the first word that comes to mind looking my music collection. At least they did say that until I sent the boys round (governor).

The Old 97s were an instant hit with me. Pounding melodies, a vocal line that shouts “I don’t do melodies,” and no %$*#@! Disney channel vocal effects.

What’s that you say? Disney doesn’t use a million dollars of equipment and software on anyone they select for stardom? Yeah, right. In which case I bet you can’t wait for Mitchel Musso’s “live” tour. I’m on tenterhooks. (what’s sad is that Disney used to care about talent -ed)

I digress, back to the Old 97s., specifically Doreen, from Hitchhike to Rhome.

Don’t know it? Well, iTunes has the first minute to give you the idea (and maybe buy a copy).

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/doreen/id6557602?i=6557584

Pounding melodies – check.

Banjo front and center – check.

And then there’s the vocal line. Hot damn (as they might say). Alt country. No whining about “ma dogs done gone left me” here. There’s a story, and like the best stories it’s shown, not told.

To start with there are the cheesy rhymes.

When I first met Doreen
She was barely seventeen.

And

Well you can roll your eyes and nod
But I swear that I saw God,

Rhett Millar’s delivery is so no-nonsense that it all just works.

And the lyrics show, not tell.

In the first four verses we’re shown how he falls in love with her. No blatant “I’m in love” lines here (even though Sir Paul’s made a fortune through that route).

When I first met Doreen
She was barely seventeen.
She was drinking whiskey sours in the bar.

The way she tossed ’em back
I would’ve had a heart attack.
But as it is I let her drive my car.

We galloped through the boroughs
Like a pair of horny thoroughbreds,
Until I said, “Stop the car, Doreen.”

Well you can roll your eyes and nod
But I swear that I saw God,
In the moonlight on a side street in the wreckage we call Queens.

Brilliant. Not only do they show us he’s in love, they keep the car theme going with “side street” and “wreckage.”

Then we hit the chorus. The awful dream. The dark threat of new lovers (esp the ones started with Whiskey sours. So I’m told, anyway).

Doreen, Doreen, Last night I had an awful dream.
You were laying in the arms of a man I’d never seen.
Come clean Doreen. Come clean Doreen.

So we’re shown he’s worried about her being faithful and (hot damn) we’re shown how he’s separated from her and has to admit his feelings to the band.

Well I’m pulling into Cleveland
In a seven-seater tour van.
There’s eight of us, so I’m sleeping on the floor.

The guy that plays the banjo
Keeps on handing me the Old Crow,
Which multiplies my sorrow, I can’t take it anymore.

Now I’m begging and I’m pleading,
“Well pull over guys, I’m bleeding.
There’s a Fina off the highway with a phone.”

Keeping the threads going, we’re still traveling and the whiskey hasn’t been forgotten. The best lines are surely, “so I’m sleeping on the floor,” “I can’t take it anymore,” and best if all, “There’s a Fina off the highway with a phone.” Everyone knows what he’s taking about, but the sound of the word “Fina” is such a great contrast between the “ing”s and “o”s of the previous verses.

Finally we’re shown that she’s dumped him. The inevitable conclusion. His dread manifest.

I’m calling you Doreen,

But it rings and rings and rings.

Where is it that you are, if you aren’t in our bed at home.

Even the last line is nothing ordinary. It’s a great reversal of the normal word order to put “home” as the last word, the final take-away. They wanted you to understand, if you hadn’t got the picture by then, the guy’s dream of home was gone.

Show, show, show. No telling. Brilliant.

Course, I can hear lots of you saying serves himself right, moral of the story – don’t pick up chicks under alcohol. But really guys, are you so pure you can throw that stone? Have a heart.

Better still, put that stone down and spill the beans. Do whiskey sours ring bells in your past? Margueritas in Austin? Or was it Poire Williams in the Swiss Alps (if you’re rich)? Don’t worry. Your secrets will be safe with us.

And we’ll be sooooo sympathetic. Really…

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Wordsmith Wednesday – The Muse

A representation from the 1500s of the Muses d...

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Writing, sharing words with others, is incredibly personal. It involves pouring out bits of your soul for others to look at and *gasp* judge. Some of the most volatile feelings we have center around what we write.

Hi, my name is Gigi, and I am a writer. My deepest relationships are with my muses.

What is a muse? It’s that voice (or voices) inside a writer’s head who holds the keys to our closet of inspiration. They are more than friend, more than family, they are the gatekeepers of our imagination, our soul. And yes, I did say muses plural earlier. I have several.

Each has a distinctive voice, or personality. Only one talks to me at a time, and they’re all male. I don’t know why.

One is a broody, emo brat whom I have locked in a dungeon. All my teenage angst poetry that will never see the light of day are his fault.

Another is full of hope and sunlight and joy. He lives in the garden, wanting me to join him, get our hands dirty together as we plant seeds for the future. He also likes lots and lots of sex. I tried denying him once and looked down to find I’d written the torrid scene he demanded anyway.

Our muses know what we need to say. They are there to help us get it done, and we ignore them at our own risk. We have to trust ourselves when we write, and that means trusting our muse.

Admittedly, sometimes they want us to write something uncomfortable for others to read or even hear about. That’s perfectly fine. Not everyone has to like what we write.

Unfortunately, most don’t stop at not reading, especially if they care about us. They try to tell us not to write whatever it is they find offensive. While well-meaning, thinking to help us rise above our “filthy” impulses, they cut into our hearts. Instead of building us up because we’re “better than that,” they are, in fact, tearing us down.

What then, do we do?

We listen to our muse. We are writers. We tell the story our soul needs to share, and trust in ourself.

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Wordsmith Wednesday – All Aboard For Books

Open book

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There’s something magical about a good storyteller. They can suck us into the worlds they weave almost without our knowing. One minute we’re sitting at home, maybe with a cup of tea – Earl Grey, hot. The next we’re in Narnia, fighting the White Witch, or perhaps we’ve found ourselves on Platform Nine-and-three-quarters, waiting to board the Hogwarts Express. Some days, we even find ourselves on the streets of Ancient Rome, lending our ears to Mark Anthony.

How do authors like C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, and William Shakespeare capture our imaginations? How do they transport us into their worlds?

First, of course, we have to invite them in. We have to suspend our disbelief by opening the book.

Second, we need the stories to have good structure. My friend Kristen has a good series on that in her blog.

Third, there has to be conflict. Why else would we keep turning the pages if not to find out what happens next? This is also something Kristen explains very well.

Fourth, we need them to resonate with something inside us. This need is why some books that don’t adhere as tightly to the second and third options can take the world by storm.

Let’s take one of those excellent authors from earlier that fulfill all the needs, and look at why one of their stories resonates. How about J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series?

Okay, there’s lots of excitement, solid structure, enchanting scenery, and so on. That got us, especially the target demographic of eleven-year-olds, interested. What really hooked all of us was that it tapped into our fears of abandonment. We’ve all been there, right? From the moment we left the womb, there was a sense of separation, loss. We were no longer physically tethered to another soul.

Then there’s those of us who have lost a parent. We know that feeling of abandonment on a far deeper level.

How many of us would feel like that loss had meaning if it forged us into a hero? That it was not in vain if, rather than a car accident or bad health, it was because of a tangible monster we could train ourselves to defeat?

Rowling also tapped into our bone-deep need for hope… that our suffering could be the learning blocks for saving the world. We can be that lonely kid living under the stairs with spiders, learn to not only face our personal demons, but conquer them as well.

Most of all, she showed us that we are not alone. Our friends can be part of our family if we let them in. They add to our strength, make us more than we are.

Through all of that, she consistently advanced her writing. The older Harry got, the more complex and mature her storytelling became, making us feel as though we were aging with Harry or watching him grow. We felt the passage of time. No mean feat, if you ask me.

When the series came to a close, we felt we had completed a journey. Our hearts bore the scars and yet were left whole. Closing the book, we blinked owlishly as our mundane world came back into focus.

To what worlds have you travelled? What authors have led you to lands far from (or near to) home? How? Why?  And what effect did it have on you?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Duran Duran’s “What Happens Tomorrow”

What Happens Tomorrow

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Welcome to Wordsmith Wednesday, Duran Duran week edition! I chose What Happens Tomorrow off their 2004 album, Astronaut for our discussion pleasure today because, honestly,  I thought we could use a little dose of hope after all the world events that have been unfolding of late. So, without further ado, the lyrics:

What Happens Tomorrow by Duran Duran

Child, don’t you worry

It’s enough you’re growin’ up in such a hurry

Brings you down, the news they sell ya

To put in your mind that all mankind is a failure

But nobody knows

What’s gonna happen tomorrow

We’ll try not to show how frightened we are

If you’ll let me, I’ll protect you however I can

You’ve got to believe it’ll be alright in the end

You’ve got to believe it’ll be alright again

Fighting because we’re so close

There are times we punish those who we need the most

No we can’t wait for a saviour

Only got ourselves to blame for this behavior

But nobody knows

What’s gonna happen tomorrow

We’ll try not to show how frightened we are

It would seem lonely

If you were the only

Star in the night

You’ve got to believe it’ll be alright in the end

You’ve got to believe it’ll be alright again

And nobody knows

What’s gonna happen tomorrow

So don’t let go

Now we’ve come this far

Hold my hand please

Understand we’re never alone

We’ve got to believe it’ll be alright in the end

(Nobody knows)

We’ve got to believe it’ll be alright my friend

(So don’t let go)

And yes we believe it’ll be alright again

(So don’t let it go)

Ooooh ooooh ooh oooooh

Ooooh ooooh ooh oooooh

 

So, we can see that the song starts out reassuring someone else. As it progresses, we can tell by the switch from “you” to “we” that the lyricist is reassuring himself as well as his audience. The fear has spread, but by reaching out to one another, we can make it through. It’s also, I think, a commentary on the band’s history itself. It was a big leap of faith for John, Simon, Nick, and Roger to work with Andy again. After he had left the first time he, for several years, was nicknamed Mr. Lawsuit Of The Week because he literally kept throwing lawsuits at them over and over. They even mentioned it in the song Notorious, “who really gives a damn for a flaky bandit.” Oh! And look! He flakes out on them AGAIN and they have to scrap almost an entire album to keep him from pulling the same shenanigans.

For me, this song represents hope in the face of fear, despair, and mistrust. Whether that hope is misplaced or not isn’t the point. We need hope more than just about anything, especially when things are at their most bleak. The first time I heard this song I cried, because it filled me with a hope I desperately needed. I felt safe, protected, for the first time in years. The point is that hope and solidarity makes us stronger, more able to face the unknown of tomorrow.

It shocked me, although it shouldn’t have, how relevant this song still feels after seven years. The simplicity of the lyrics belie the depth and breadth of their scope. “We’ve got to believe it’ll be alright in the end.”

What do these lyrics say to you?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Morrissey’s “The Ordinary Boys”

Welcome to the second Wordsmith Wednesday. Today we’re going to look at the lyrics of Morrissey‘s The Ordinary Boys. I was having trouble deciding on something from my own collection. Spoiled for choice, you could say. So I jumped on Twitter and put out a call for help. Semibold responded almost immediately, asking if I liked Morrissey and The Smiths. I told her like wasn’t an issue so much as interesting was. She then pointed me to the song we will be discussing today. Here are the lyrics:

The Ordinary Boys by Morrissey and Stephen Street

Ordinary boys, happy knowing nothing

Happy being no-one but themselves

Ordinary girls, supermarket clothes

Who think it’s very clever to be cruel to you

For you were so different

You stood all alone

And you knew

That it had to be so

Avoiding ordinary boys

Happy going nowhere, just around here

In their rattling cars

Ordinary girls

Never seeing further

Than the old, small streets

That trap them

But you were so different

You had to say no

When those empty fools

Tried to change you, and claim you

For the lair of their ordinary world

Where they feel so lucky

So lucky, so lucky

With their lives laid out before them

They are lucky

So lucky, so lucky

 

True confessions time. That is a lot of how I felt in high school…the isolation of being unique, feeling like the “normal” kids had it easy, that they were out to get me. When I read those words, I was instantly transported back to that time in my life.

By turns, the lyrics are hurt (“think it’s very clever to be cruel to you”), condescending (“those empty fools”), and jealous (“they are lucky”). It sounds as though a bitter teenager is venting his spleen. I looked up the dates and found out that Morrissey was nearly thirty in 1988 when Viva Hate, the album on which the song appears, was released. Seriously? You get to almost thirty and still can’t get over the mean kids in high school? Still, the lyrics made me think.

When I was in high school, everything felt so difficult, bewildering, and hurtful. There were kids that I thought were “so lucky”. The rich kids, the popular kids, the pretty kids, all of them had to have had it easier than me! Gradually, I learned how wrong I was. Nobody has it easy in high school. Nobody has it easy EVER.

Life is difficult. Some days it goes well, others go horribly wrong. Money, popularity, and looks only change the types of problems one has. I didn’t like these lyrics, they brought me back to a time of petty meanness and sadness. However, they got my brain whirling, and for that I kinda love them too. What about you? What do these lyrics say to you?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)”

Welcome to the very first Wordsmith Wednesday! I thought we’d take the way-back machine to 1928 and look at Cole Porter‘s Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love). Now, there are several versions of this song, first played in the musical Paris. However, for the purposes of this blog, we’ll be looking at the version from the 2004 soundtrack of De-Lovely, a film about Cole Porter’s life, as sung by Alanis Morissette. Why? Because that is the version I own and have transcribed.Yes, I sat down and listened to the song over and over again to write down the lyrics. Here they are:

Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) by Cole Porter

But that’s why birds do it, bees do it

Even educated fleas do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

In Spain the best upper sets do it

Lithuanians and Letts do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

The Dutch in old Amsterdam do it, Not to mention the Finns

Folks in Siam do it, think of Siamese twins

Some Argentines without means do it

People say in Boston even beans do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Romantic sponges they say do it

Oysters down in Oyster Bay do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Cold Cape Cod clams ‘gainst their wish do it

Even lazy jellyfish do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Electric eels I might add do it, though it shocks ’em I know

Why ask if shad do it, waiter bring me shad roe

In shallow shoals English soles do it

Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

The dragonflies in the reeds do it

Sentimental centipedes do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Mosquitos heaven forbid do it

So does every katydid do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

The most refined ladybugs do it, when a gentleman calls

Moths in your rugs do it, what’s the use of moth balls

The gusts in trees do it

Bees do it

Even over-educated fleas do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love

 

Now, this song is quite obviously about mating, sex. However, since it was considered vulgar to talk about that sort of thing too blatantly when the song was originally written, you can see Porter ameliorated the bluntness by inserting the bit about falling in love for what “it” is. This also neatly equates sex with love which, in my humble opinion and experience, should be true, but often is not. Oh, and for those of you wondering, click this link for another set of lyrics I found on the internet.

There are quite a few clever turns of phrase, like the mention of electric eels being shocked and the moth balls. It’s light and frothy, winking at you and seeming to say that, as George Michael put it, “sex is natural, sex is good” and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. After all, what about those randy beans from Boston?

It occurs to me, so many people snipe and grumble about how vulgar today’s music is, how it focuses on sex and candy violence and all that jazz. Thing is, music has always been about those things, the composers were just more sneaky about how they expressed it. Or more…what’s the word I’m looking for? Classier? Euphemistic? ARTISTIC! Yes, that’s the answer!

No one listening to Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries can say it’s about happy bunnies frolicking. Likewise The Star-Spangled Banner. They are both definitely about battle. Bombs are bursting in the air! Jerry Lee LewisGreat Balls of Fire and, of course, today’s selection are prime examples of songs about sex from so-called innocent times.

I think my favorite line in Let’s Do It is the opening one about the birds and the bees, a classic euphemism for what the song is all about. It simply and elegantly sets the stage, letting you know what the real score is. It doesn’t need to be excessive or slap you in the face to get the message across.

What do you think? What do these lyrics say to you? Can centipedes really be sentimental?

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