Tales of 14-Songs-in-14-Days: Ready for Halloween?

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by Jan Seides
Thursday 4th October, 2012, 12:25pm

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.  It’s the “trickster” aspect of it, I think, and also the opportunity to pretend to be someone (or even something) else for awhile, that gets me so excited.  Consequently, I love Halloween songs, the weirder the better.  My favorite of other folks’ musical contributions to that holiday are many but the standouts are “Sally’s Song” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and something called “Zombie Jamboree”.  There was also a song in The Corpse Bride — can you tell I like Tim Burton? — called “The Remains of the Day”, that I want to learn for my next Halloween show.  I always try to book something at the end of October so that I can have a Halloween show.  This year, the closest I can get is October 20th, but that’s OK. Halloween really should be celebrated all month, as far as I’m concerned.

So, we’re on our second 14-songs-in-14-days challenge, and it’s five months past my sudden and unexpected trip to the hospital. I think I’ve spoken of this in another post, but the short story is that I developed a blood clot in one leg.  First time in the hospital for anything other than a baby, first surgery and I emerged pretty traumatized by the whole affair. To start with, my life, pre-hospital stay, was lovely. And I knew it.  I was writing and performing. I was teaching music. Mornings began with a 30-minute run admiring my neighbors’ gardens. Lovely. And threatened by my health “issue”.

Now, there were all these white-coated people telling me about things I needed to slow down, or even stop, and suffice to say, I was pretty resistant.  As the symptoms yielded to time and medicine, I mentioned to someone that I was running again, and he clucked and shook his head.  My reasoning was that if I wasn’t supposed to do it, I wouldn’t be able to, and I was able to run, therefore …..

Seemed logical to me, but I may have been biased.

At one point, the doctor ordered an ultra-sound and the results indicated that the clot wasn’t gone, as I and everyone else expected.  It was the day before a trip up to see my sister-in-law, and it was a Friday, which meant I couldn’t talk with the doctor about it until Monday.  I just wanted the whole thing to be over, and I was pretty distraught that it wasn’t.

That night we were at my sister-in-law’s house and I couldn’t sleep, and I still owed the universe a song, so I got up, turned a chair to the wall, and worried. All sorts of terrible things went through my mind, of all the things I wouldn’t be able to do EVER AGAIN (I have a problem with what they call “awful-izing”.)  At some point, Andy got up and came looking for me to ask what was going on.

“Oh nothing,” I responded.  “I just have goblins in my head.”

That became the title of my newest Halloween song.

There were some great songs written by the group this time too.  By now we were veterans and no longer freaked out by the project.  A few people wrote songs about the challenge, but not as many as before.  Sue Young wrote a heart-wrenching song about the BP oil spill called “Black Water” that she says was pretty much an interview she read in the paper. And Jimmy Joe Natoli wrote a fantasy about driving one of the students on his school bus, called “Ellen’s Ride”. Great fun was had by all, I think. But we were still fairly surprised that we were getting usable songs out of this.

We had a gathering after the two weeks were over, and I chose this one as one of my two favorites. When I played it, Mo McMorrow, one of the other members of this group, expressed her surprised that this song came out of that experience.  Here it is. Have a listen. See if you’re surprised.

Goblins in my Head

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