I’ve been at an impasse with my pirate story for a few days. Not a writer’s block impasse, thank goodness. But that kind of impasse where you kind of know what happens next, but you’re just not sure. Characters aren’t quite standing in the right places for them to get to the places they seem to be going. But you don’t want to go back and move them if you’re not sure about the destination.
So, I wait. I just mull over different possibilities–do these people get along? Do they not? If not, why not? And I go back and read what I’ve already written and I reconsider what that information means. Sometimes, it suggests something more than it did when I first put it down, especially once I have the conflict more firmly settled on the page. Those details might now tell me more about how the story ends.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing with the pirate story. Just waiting to see what was going to make sense.
This morning, when I opened the garage door and let the dog out into the night, I started singing “Sweet Pauline, the Pirate Queen. Prettiest gal that I’d ever seen. Mean and tough and quick with a knife. She wouldn’t be a gentleman’s wife.” And I laughed, because it was totally a little bit a rip off of “Amanda,” though faster, but also because I knew it meant that the ending was almost ready.
Down South in New Orleans.
I really wish I were a better song-writer, because I love writing fake old folk songs.
The Band did Down South in NO with Bobby Charles; there’s a Last Waltz outtake on YouTube of the performance. For that matter, David Essex took some of that verse in your head into “Rock On”. But it comes from Johnny & Jack, as here:
Of course, but I hadn’t really considered the similarities between those two songs until now.
You may be on to something there; maybe that’s why “Down South in New Orleans” was cut out of the Last Waltz picture!