Monthly Archives: January 2010

EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSES!

“Rose Lerner’s LILY AMONG THORNS, in which a young woman innkeeper who has worked hard to bury her past finds herself facing the man who long ago helped her escape her life as a prostitute and is now turning to her for her help; she believes the biggest threat to her independence are the sparks that fly between them until disaster threatens and she finds they must work together to fight for their freedom and their lives, to Leah Hultenschmidt at Dorchester, for publication in January 2011, by Kevan Lyon at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (World).”

This was in Publisher’s Marketplace yesterday! Yes! I sold another book!

Pretty much all the details I have so far are in that announcement–I just got the call from Kevan on Tuesday and I think I might have burst her eardrum screaming into the phone–but I’ll keep you posted!

::chair-dances::

Oh, say, can you see by the dawnzer lee light?

I recently learned a new word: mondegreens. A “mondegreen” is, as defined by Wikipedia, “the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, typically a standardized phrase such as a line in a poem or a lyric in a song, due to near homophony, in a way that yields a new meaning to the phrase.”

The term was coined by Sylvia Wright, who said, “When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy’s Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

The actual fourth line is “And laid him on the green”. As Wright explained the need for a new term, “The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original.”

So the thing you have to understand about me is that I am absolutely terrible at understanding song lyrics. I have a LOT of trouble picking out words, even though words are often the most important part of a song to me because I’m a writer and not very musical. I frequently have to look up lyrics of a song I love, or it irks me EVERY TIME I hear the song. “STOP MUMBLING!” I shout at the radio. So I frequently have the experience of discovering that I was totally, 100% wrong about what a singer was saying.

I don’t know why it is that what I make up for myself is so often more satisfying to me that the real lyric. Is it just because I’m used to it, having listened to the song that way so many times? Or is it because, making it up myself, I naturally made it up in a way I liked, a way that resonated with me?

The most recent example is from Bob Dylan’s love song, “Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands.” I love that song. I love it a lot. I love it so much that I love a whole OTHER Bob Dylan love song, “Sarah,” just because it has the line, “Staying up for days in the Chelsea Hotel/Writing ‘Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ for you.” (This despite having no romantic feelings about Bob Dylan AT ALL, as he seems like kind of a jerk.) But I have always, always, ever since I first heard the song when I was 16, thought that the second line was, “And your eyes like smoke and your breasts like rhymes.”

Turns out it’s actually prayers like rhymes. Which, there’s nothing wrong with that as a line. It’s a nice line, even. But I loved my own interpretation. I thought it was the most romantic, sexy simile ever. (For a writer, I guess words are the most erotic thing someone can compare you to.)

And now I’ve heard it the right way and I’ll never be able to unhear it. And I’m kind of disproportionately saddened by that.

When’s the last time you’ve been disappointed by finding out the actual lyrics to a song?