Story Fest: A Celebration of Story A Day May

StoryFest is live today on StoryADay.org . Check it out! And read my story here.

J.E.M. Wildfire

Every May and September, award-winning writer’s site StoryADay.org hosts a challenge to write a short story every day. Founder Julie Duffy issues the challenge to writers at any level from beginning amateurs through published professionals. Regardless of the writer’s experience, the thought-provoking prompts exercise and challenge participants’ writing chops. June is a celebration of their accomplishments, culminating in StoryFest on the last weekend.

Head on over to StoryADay.org on Saturday, June 27, or Sunday, June 28, and discover a new writer or a new genre.

(Full disclosure: I accepted the challenge for the first time last year. Loved it so much, I came back for more this year. My submission to StoryFest is my next post.)

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Alphabet Soup

“A” my name is Alice — really. Bob is my husband. Cromwell, Connecticut, is our home. Does this sound familiar? Every little girl in America jumps rope to “’A’ My Name Is Alice.” Fourteen years ago, I married Bob, and my life became an offbeat jump rope song.

Golly-gee, living in a nursery rhyme is great fun. Hear a little sarcasm? I try to suppress it for the sake of the kids, but it always creeps in.

Johnny is 13 now, a budding comedian specializing in dry wit that hovers dangerously close to full-out sarcasm. Katie, 11, having heard what men think of glasses-wearing girls one too many times, is our wise-cracking Dorothy Parker (or maybe Sarah Silverman).

Levon is 10 with no witty bone in his body; Bob hopes he’ll be a musician like his namesake, drummer Levon Helm.

Mike, at 8 years old, nurtures his sarcasm gene with South Park and The New Yorker cartoons. Nancy may be a mere 3 1/2, but she has developed crushes on Sheldon Cooper (both Big Bang and Young), Chandler Bing, and Liz Lemon. Our baby, Oona is only a year old and loves Three Stooges’ slapstick, the precursor to sarcastic humor (see, e.g., the Marx Brothers into Groucho Marx).

Perhaps you noticed that makes six kids, our own juvenile Monty Python troupe. Quips galore in my house.

Rock star dad that he is, Bob built a mini Globe Theatre for their more theatrical comedy endeavors. Shakespeare it ain’t, but it keeps them and the neighborhood kids busy. That, of course, means the parents are partying at our house on the regular. Until the childless neighborhood killjoys come over and raise hell, resulting in …

Visits from our local constables, none of whom have any sense of humor or patience for busybody neighbors. When the cops arrive, red lights flashing, sirens blaring, the party really gets going. Xenophobes might hear the chaos and think they have discovered a tenth level of Dante’s Inferno.  YOLO is our motto. Za usually arrives just in time to calm everyone down; no one in our tenth circle talks while they eat.

Story Fest: A Celebration of Story A Day May

Every May and September, award-winning writer’s site StoryADay.org hosts a challenge to write a short story every day. Founder Julie Duffy issues the challenge to writers at any level from beginning amateurs through published professionals. Regardless of the writer’s experience, the thought-provoking prompts exercise and challenge participants’ writing chops. June is a celebration of their accomplishments, culminating in StoryFest on the last weekend.

Head on over to StoryADay.org on Saturday, June 27, or Sunday, June 28, and discover a new writer or a new genre.

(Full disclosure: I accepted the challenge for the first time last year. Loved it so much, I came back for more this year. My submission to StoryFest is my next post.)

 

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday — “Jersey Girl” — Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, “La,” I’m featuring “Jersey Girl,” written by Tom Waits with additional lyrics by Bruce Springsteen. I don’t know what it is about this song, but it gives me goosebumps up and down my spine. And I’m not a Jersey girl; imagine what it must do to one of them!

Both Springsteen and Waits married Jersey girls (Patti Scialfa and Kathleen Brennan, respectively) and Waits wrote this song for his.

“Jersey Girl” first appeared on Waits’ 1980 album “Heart Attack and Vine,” which peaked at number 96 on the Billboard Hot 200. Although it was his seventh album, he confessed in an interview, “I never thought I would catch myself saying ‘sha la la’ in a song,” adding, “This is my first experiment with ‘sha la la.'” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and was one of “Rolling Stone Magazine’s” 2015 picks for the “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.”

Springsteen started occasionally covering the song in the early ’80s and began including it in regular rotation in his set list during a series of concerts marking the opening of the then-Brendan Byrne Arena in Rutherford, New Jersey. (The arena was subsequently named The Meadowlands.) Springsteen tweaked the first verse a bit. Where Waits wrote “Don’t want no whores on Eighth Avenue,” Springsteen sang “Or the girls down on the avenue.” Springsteen also added three new verses and eliminated Waits’ final line “And I call your name, I can’t sleep at night.”

During one of Springsteen’s 1981 Los Angeles appearances, Tom Waits joined him on stage, where they performed the song together. In what we, today, would call a “mashup,” they combined Waits’ original lyrics with Springsteen’s new lyrics. Each sang backup for the other.

You can hear the audio in the video below. If you want to follow along with the lyrics, I’ve posted Waits’ original lyrics in full and Springsteen’s additional three verses.

Just in case you’re not familiar with their voices, Waits sings the first three verses. Springsteen chimes in on the first Sha la la las and sings the fourth and fifth verses written by Waits. Waits comes back in with his final verse (“And I call your name…”), after which Springsteen sings the three verses he wrote. Many Sha la las are mixed in throughout. Enjoy!

 

Jersey Girl” by Tom Waits

Got no time for the corner boys,
Down in the street makin’ all that noise,
Don’t want no whores on eighth avenue,
Cause tonight I’m gonna be with you.

‘Cause tonight I’m gonna take that ride,
Across the river to the jersey side,
Take my baby to the carnival,
And I’ll take you on all the rides,
Sing sha la la la la la sha la la la.

Down the shore everything’s alright,
You’re with your baby on a Saturday night,
Don’t you know that all my dreams come true,
When I’m walkin’ down the street with you,
Sing sha la la la la la sha la la la.

You know she thrills me with all her charms,
When I’m wrapped up in my baby’s arms,
My little angel gives me everything,
I know someday that she’ll wear my ring.

So don’t bother me cause I got no time,
I’m on my way to see that girl of mine,
Nothin’ else matters in this whole wide world,
When you’re in love with a jersey girl,
Sing sha la la la la la la.

And I call your name, I can’t sleep at night,
Sha la la la la la la.

 

Jersey Girl” additional lyrics by Bruce Springsteen

I see you on the street and you look so tired
I know that job you got leaves you so uninspired
When I come by to take you out to eat
you’re lyin’ all dressed up on the bed baby fast asleep

Go in the bathroom and put your makeup on
We’re gonna take that little brat of yours and drop her off at your mom?s
I know a place where the dancing?s free
Now baby won’t you come with me

‘Cause down the shore everything’s all right
You and your baby on a Saturday night
Nothing matters in this whole wide world
When you’re in love with a Jersey girl

compiled with information sourced from Wikipedia, AllMusic.com, SongFacts.com, and SongMeanings.com