My critique group recently started a blog.  We call ourselves the Beer & Bacon Babes so our site is named The BBB Gals- This One Time… At Writers’ Group.  (What?  We can call ourselves “babes” if we want to– I Googled it.)  Our tag line is Challenge… Accepted!  This relates to our method of posting.  We take turns writing (there are five of us, so I am featured once every five weeks).  The other four each give the fifth a writing prompt.  She chooses one of the four ideas and then she can do whatever she likes with it: a short story, an essay, an op-ed piece, even a haiku.

It has been a ton of fun and gets each of us out our own heads.  Sometimes we become so focused on our novels-in-progress, the agent queries, even our regular blogs that we lose the fun of writing.  And writing should be fun.  It should something we are dying to do.

So, for instance, on my week I had the following prompts:

Wendy-  If I could live in a movie it would be…

Amy-  First line:  ”When she walked down the aisle, she stumbled when she spotted her high school sweetheart in a pair of dark sunglasses sitting in the first row.”

Cameron-  The case of the missing pens

Jen-  Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts

They’re a hoot, right?  For the record, I chose “The case of the missing pens.”  You can read my story by clicking here.

I bring this up because occasionally we invite guests to come and blog.  Our last guest was my friend Carla and she actually wrote a song!  I find this very impressive because, while I love writing poetry and I do play a couple of instruments, I would never, in a million years, attempt to write a song.  And her lyrics are lovely.  Check it out.

In her blog, Carla explained that with the hustle and bustle of her life she opted for song-writing because it “involves tighter, more concise writing.”  Reflecting upon her words, I cannot help but agree.  How many times, I wondered, have I, have you or any of us, been transported by a song and a tale as completely realized as any in a book?

Truly, such story-telling is a gift and a craft deserving of our appreciation.

This led me to recall my favorite story-songs.  These would be records not simply about the crushes of the young (and the not-so young) or one’s plan to party that weekend.  No, these would the ones that had a full story complete with : plot, characters and resolution.

Here are some of my favorites.  I am sure I have left a lot out so I would dearly love to hear what you would add to the list.  Please click on the song title to connect to the video.

In no particular order:

The Temple of The King by Rainbow, 1975

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot, 1976

In Lonesome Dove by Garth Brooks, 1991

Cowboy Bill also by Garth Brooks, 1989- sadly, I could not find a video that was not a cover for this song and I really recommend Garth’s version.  So spend the money and download it- I choke up every time, every damn time.

A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash, 1969 (based on the poem by Shel Silverstein)

Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun by Julie Brown, 1984

Traveling Soldier by The Dixie Chicks, 2002

Love Vigilantes by New Order, 1985

In The Ghetto by Mac Davis, 1979- Davis wrote the song which Elvis Presley recorded in 1969.  Davis included his own version for a greatest hits album in 1979.  I like Davis’ version better- just my opinion.

My personal favorite would have to be this one… blame my mom, she’s a huge Rod Stewart fan.  It just barely edged out Rainbow.

The Killing of Georgie (Part I & II) by Rod Stewart, 1976

It’s the story of the senseless hate crime leading to the death of a wonderful young man because he had the nerve to walk home with his boyfriend on a summer night.  Still highly applicable today, perhaps even more so than when Stewart first wrote it.  Either way, the story telling here is superb.

In these days of changing ways
so called liberated days
a story comes to mind of a friend of mine

Georgie boy was gay I guess
nothin’ more or nothin’ less
the kindest guy I ever knew

His mother’s tears fell in vain
the afternoon George tried to explain
that he needed love like all the rest

Pa said there must be a mistake
how can my son not be straight
after all I’ve said and done for him

Leavin’ home on a Greyhound bus
cast out by the ones he loves
A victim of these gay days it seems

Georgie went to New York town
where he quickly settled down
and soon became the toast of the great white way

Accepted by Manhattan’s elite
in all the places that were chic
No party was complete without George

Along the boulevards he’d cruise
and all the old queens blew a fuse
Everybody loved Georgie boy

The last time I saw George alive
was in the summer of seventy-five
he said he was in love I said I’m pleased

George attended the opening night
of another Broadway hype
but split before the final curtain fell

Deciding to take a short cut home
arm in arm they meant no wrong
A gentle breeze blew down Fifth Avenue

Out of a darkened side street came
a New Jersey gang with just one aim
to roll some innocent passer-by
There ensued a fearful fight
screams rang out in the night
Georgie’s head hit a sidewalk cornerstone

A leather kid, a switchblade knife
He did not intend to take his life
He just pushed his luck a little too far that night

The sight of blood dispersed the gang
A crowd gathered, the police came
An ambulance screamed to a halt on Fifty-third and Third

Georgie’s life ended there
but I ask who really cares
George once said to me and I quote

He said “Never wait or hesitate
Get in kid, before it’s too late
You may never get another chance
‘Cos youth a mask but it don’t last
live it long and live it fast”
Georgie was a friend of mine

Oh Georgie stay, don’t go away
Georgie please stay you take our breath away
Oh Georgie stay, don’t go away
Georgie please stay you take our breath away
Oh Georgie stay, don’t go away
Georgie, Georgie please stay you take our breath away
Oh Georgie stay

Telling a story...

Telling a story…

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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