Song Writer’s Block

Long before I became an obscure humor writer, I was equally unknown as a songwriter and poet. A sort of Robert Zimmerman of the South, if you will. The primary challenge with songwriting is getting the lyrics aligned with the melody. To do this, I would count syllables and search for words to fit the allotted space without sounding too awkward.

Here are some examples that didn’t work out.

                    Mary had a little cucumber.

                    Mary had a little kosher ham.

                    Twinkle, twinkle little space capsule.

                    Twinkle, twinkle little moonbeam in a jar.

As you can see, it’s not as easy as people like Bjorn Rudberg make it look.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the musical director who chastises the tuba section for making farting noises, is Hester Van Cleef Wisoff-Fields.  If you’d like to take a stab at this exercise in madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

John drummed the eraser end of the number-two yellow pencil against a lined pad and stared out the window.

The music inside his head ran a continuous loop, in one ear and out the other. Along the route it passed a giant doing cartwheels, statues wearing high heels, and elephants playing tambourines.

“Bother me tomorrow,” he told his wife when she brought up the subject of pre-paid funerals. “Today, I’ll buy no sorrow.”

“We’ll die someday.” Angry, she began to stutter. “Now’s the time to doo, doo, doo it.”

The missing lyrics appeared as she stormed out the back door.


For those of you not familiar with the song, this my version of how John Fogerty discovered the lyrics for “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”

38 Comments on “Song Writer’s Block

  1. Mary had a little lamb and then she had some more.

    Great rhyming technique, I see a bright future for you as the Poet Laureate of Ozark.


    • I hope Mary had some salad and scalloped potatoes too. You’re making me hungry.
      My poetry days are pretty much over. Humor is a lot more fun to write.


  2. Dear John,

    I always like your song “There’s a Bathroom on the Right.” What a toe tapper. As usual, you’ve set the bar low enough to ice skate over. I can always count on humor from the tuba section. So goes another week that I’m keeping your joy buzzer.




    • Dear Hester,

      Thanks for the kind feedback. I know your favorite line of that song is, “Please remember to lower the ring, I need a target to aim at.” Pardon me while I tune up the tuba.



    • She wants to pre-pay their funerals. It’s a nice concept. You get locked in at today’s price and it relieves the family of the financial burden when you finally do kick the bucket.


  3. LOL – The couple here are so different …one a dreamer and one a practical planner . That sounds like a recipe for a tragedy yet it’s comic in your story. Well done – and I enjoyed your lesson on Nursery rhymes in the intro 🙂


  4. how about that? mama is all-knowing. she can even provide the missing lyrics without intending to. the pre-paid funeral plan might not be that bad after all. 🙂


  5. Ha, have to admit I had never dived into that particular John Fogarty song… Almost like a Lewis Caroll of Rock 😉 … Song lyrics are so crazily difficult compared to poetry… Just like limericks are the most advanced poetry.


  6. Excellent, Russell. I liked where his mind went from the giants doing cartwheels (love that!) to the elephants. Such a great piece of tight writing!


    • That’s was John’s mind, although I like the visual image of giant’s doing cartwheels. We tend to think of them as being very clumsy, and as for the elephants playing tambourine, it had better be a really slow song.


      • AnElephantCant be Mr Tambourine Man
        But the reason is not what you think
        His music is duller
        Despite his bright colour
        AnElephant is not in the pink


  7. You should be in advertising… you couldn’t do any worse than the current crop of copywriters. Or could you…? I’ll need to consider that some more.


  8. I was worried that all the great songwriters were dead or on life-support and rap would be the only thing that would pass for “music.” Whew! Or should I say, “doo, doo, doo, doo, thank you, you, you, you!”


  9. Hey man, don’t diss Uncle Bobby.
    The times they are a-changing and a hard rain’s gonna fall.
    Then we’re Talking World War 3 Blues.
    Oh, cool story.


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Mandie Hines Author

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