[This is a modified post originally published in 2009. I’ve updated some of the songs to make it more current. Enjoy!]
We’ve all known someone who has totally butchered the lyrics to a song. Not us, of course, but maybe a family member or a close, personal friend. Someone who was belting out a tune in total rock star mode when it happened –“WAIT! What did you say?… NO! That’s not how the song goes! Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!!”
For me, the most delightful episode of misheard lyrics happened when my daughter was three. I was working in my office. She was playing quietly in her room when she started singing. Her sweet little voice carried down the hall, and the song went like this:
“You’re a grandma flag,
You’re a hot flying flag,
And forever in peace may she wave.
You’re the emblem of the land I love,
the home of the tree by the lake…”
I nearly wet my pants. I had to clasp my hand over my mouth to keep from ha-ha-ha’ing out loud. Once I contained myself, I walked into her room.
“Whatcha singing?” I asked.
“A song I learned in school,” she said.
“Really? Sing it for me again.”
And she did. With gusto.
Exactly as I’d heard it. Hot flying flags and all.
To this day it’s my favorite misheard lyrics story. Even better than the time my high school friend singing, “HAM ON RYE” when Kenny Logins sang, “I’M ALRIGHT.” Or when a girl at a party belted out, “YOU GOTTA DANCE TO THE LEFT, DANCE TO THE RIGHT…” as Jimmy Buffet sang, “YOU’VE GOT FINS TO THE LEFT, FINS TO THE RIGHT.” (She even had her own little dance to go with her imagined lyrics)
It even aced the time someone I know sang, “STOP! In the NEIGHBORHOOD before you break my heart.” When everyone knows Diana Ross says, “STOP! In the NAME OF LOVE….” To me, it’s even better than the king of bungled lyrics – that line from Jimmy Hendricks’ “Purple Haze,” “Excuse me while I kiss THIS GUY” when it should be “Excuse me while I kiss THE SKY.”
Okay, if I’m telling on everyone else, I suppose it’s only fair to fess up. Here are some recent songs I’ve misheard lately:
Thinking out loud by Ed Sheeran–
Correct: When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades –
Misheard: When my head’s overdrawn and my memory fades
Blank Space by Taylor Swift–
Correct: Got a long list of ex-lovers
Misheard: Got a lot of Starbucks lovers
September – Earth Wind and Fire –
Correct: Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Misheard: Do you remember when it was hot in September?
How about you? Have you ever misheard lyrics or know of someone who has? Share it with us so we can all laugh together.
Recently, I took my muse out for a cup of tea and some evening cafe writing. When it was cooler outside, I wrote at a table next to a fountain where I sipped a cappuccino (triple shot, nonfat, with a healthy cap of cinnamon powder) and let the white noise of the splashing water tickle my muse’s fancy.
I’ve gotten to the point where I can write almost anywhere. I’m an agreeable scribe as long as I have my laptop or pen and paper, Spotify and headphones, and a temperate climate ( 75 degrees or lower, thank you very much. My muse goes on strike at the first bead of perspiration).
I’ve written in airports; on trains; in the car on road trips as my husband drove (Funny though, he wasn’t keen on the idea of driving me around on a daily basis while I wrote… can you believe it? Not even after I tossed out the words team player. Haha!). I’ve written at the mall as my daughter and her friends shopped; during youth orchestra rehearsals; on school field trip busses; during horseback riding lessons and ballet classes. I’ve actually finished more than one book at the beach (yes, in a bathing suit, ten yards from the surf – casual office days) and in a tent while camping.
I must confess: this bonus didn’t come built into the job; it evolved out of necessity as I tried to maximize my productivity without sacrificing too much family time (though all bets are off when I’m on deadline). After I realized I could be productive working outside of my writing cave a funny thing happened…it dawned on me I needn’t be tied to my conventional office chair … that sometimes, even when necessity didn’t dictate, a change of venue was refreshing and quite pleasing to the temperamental muse.
What’s the most interesting place your job has taken you, or if you’re a writer, where’s your favorite place to set up your portable office?
Be sure and tune into the JQ blog this Friday. We will have a list of contests for you to enter.
Be sure to check out Nancy Robards Thompson’s latest Harlequin Special Edition, Fortune’s Prince Charming.
I’m just back from the Romance Writers of America’s national conference in San Diego. The Norwegian went with me. After the conference was over, he and I headed north for a couple of days before heading home. Here are the top five highlights of the trip (with pictures!):
1. RWA offers great workshops and opportunities to hear inspiring speakers (such as Robyn Carr’s Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech – check it out here). However, spending time with friends is by far my favorite part of the annual conference. I’ve met some of my best friends through RWA and these friendships are still going strong after decades. Many of us live in different cities and states. This is our chance to catch up.
2. This year, I received a pin for writing my 25th Harlequin (I’ve written 34 books in all). I received it at the Harlequin party (which is always a highlight of the conference in itself). My editor made the night extra special and took me to dinner before the party and then we indulged at the “VIP Suite,” a special experience for NYT best sellers, award nominees, and those who’ve reached special milestones. I remember attending my first conference. I was unpublished – actually, at that point, I hadn’t even completed a manuscript. I had a head full of ideas and a heart full of hope…little did I know. I am a walking testament that dreams do come true.
3. Our last night in San Diego, the Norwegian and I were able to have dinner at Juniper & Ivy, the restaurant of Top Chef winner Richard Blas. It was such fun and incredibly delicious. We ate way too much because everything on the menu sounded delicious. One of the highlights was an appetizer – deviled eggs served on meringue. I found the recipe here, if you’d like to try them at home.
4. We headed north and spent a night with my brother and his girlfriend in Half Moon Bay. We had more fabulous food, wine and company. Note: They happen to have the coolest chicken coop in the world. What a luxury to have fresh eggs every day.
5. Finally, we made our way to San Francisco. We only had a day there. So we made the most of our time. First, we drove down Lombard Street. After we checked into the hotel, we headed to Fisherman’s Warf for Crab Louie salads. Next, we took a San Francisco Bay cruise. I love opportunities to learn about a city’s history and what makes it special. The cruise was narrated and took us from the Golden Gate Bridge, past Alcatraz and all the way down to the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. We learned about those landmarks and everything in between. After the cruise, we had Irish coffee at the famous Buena Vista (believe it or not, it was chilly. I had to keep reminding myself it was mid-July). In case you’d like to indulge, I found the recipe for that, too. We capped off the trip with a visit to Cafe Trieste. Back in the day, it was a haunt of the Beat poets and Francis Ford Coppola wrote a good portion of the screenplay for The Godfather here. City Lights Bookstore was right around the corner. We stopped in and soaked up the vibe.
I must confess, the Norwegian was the planner. He arranged most of the fun we had after the conference (Except for Juniper and Ivy. Top Chef fan that I am, I found that one!) We packed a lot into the post-conference “vacation” time. I was exhausted, but looking back (and sharing it with you), I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
How do you like to spend your vacations? Do you like to have a plan and Go!Go!Go! Or do you like to relax and go with the flow?
I picked up some very cool note pads with vintage romance novel covers. I’ll give one each to four people who comment below.
Readers, as you know by now a bunch of us went to the RWA conference in San Diego last week. First stop was the multi-author signing, which benefits literacy programs. Here we are together.
I also got a shot of Theresa signing and my signing buddy Tina Gabrielle took one of me.
The signing had a few interesting characters too. This guy was promoting his wife’s book. What a great husband. It was hot in the ballroom.
Theresa, Kristan, and I met up again at the Rita awards reception. Theresa and I were celebrating, an Kristan took this shot of us in sunny San Diego.
We didn’t just drink and schmooze. We went to workshops and we discussed issues affecting our world. Julia Quinn was taking pictures of authors for the #whatireallyreallywant campaign.
And then it was time for the Rita awards. I can’t even explain how surreal it is to see your photo, name, and book on the big screen.
Neither Theresa or I won, but we sure had a fun night.
What do you really, really want? I have a bag of assorted books to send to one reader who comments. (Winner chosen randomly, announced Sunday, and contacted Sunday).
I hope you all had a great Independence Day! I’ll admit it, this holiday brings out the kid in me.
When I was young, my brother and I used to spend summers at my grandmother’s house. We always had a good, old fashioned Fourth of July celebration. The family would gather – aunts and uncles and cousins. My uncle would make homemade vanilla ice cream. We’d grill burgers and dogs and we’d watch fireworks. They lived out in the country and there was plenty of room to run around and have fun just being a kid.
That was ages ago, but I was remembering those good times this weekend as we celebrated the nation’s birthday. Our festivities started on Sunday evening and lasted through Monday night. On Sunday, it was just The Norwegian and me. Our neighbors across the lake always go all out and put on a fireworks extravaganza. Someone in their family must be a pyrotechnics processional because it’s like watching Disney fireworks in my own backyard– without the hassle of fighting the crowds and traffic. It’s that good! This year they floated a platform out onto the lake and proceeded to outdo themselves yet again. I sat on the back porch breathless, uttering, “Wow!” and “Did you see that? Can you believe it?” The show went on for about an hour. Even after the finale, the kid in me didn’t want it to end.
Monday, we joined friends for a cookout with their big, energetic, fabulous extended family (there were about twenty-six of us in all). I was so honored and happy to share the holiday with them. There’s so much love in that family. It was profoundly touching to be with them. We enjoyed delicious burgers with all the fixings and sides. The adults talked about life and bemoaned the stifling humidity while the kids played ping pong and basketball and had fun the way cousins do when they get together. As night fell around us, we settled into lawn chairs to watch more fireworks. For a few glorious moments, the sound of the laughter and the smell of the cookout mingling with the smoky sulfur of the fireworks transported me back to a time when things seemed so much simpler – to a time when my biggest worry was how much longer my uncle had to crank the turn on the ice cream maker before we could dive into the frosty goodness.
With all that’s been happening in the world lately, it was heaven to relax on the back porch and spend time with friends and enjoy good food and be grateful for life’s simple pleasures. How was your holiday?