what writing instructors ought to do when their cars break down

(I don’t know why the video keeps coming up as “no longer available,” but here’s a regular link to it.)

At least once a year at the YVCC writing center, we’d talk to the writing consultants about how to use their writing center experience in the future jobs. We’d go over The Bedford Guide‘s Appendix A “Outside Tutoring and Editing Jobs,” talk about ways to leverage apply their skills in various settings — all to help them figure out how to make money, in other words. This song reminded me of that.

It’d be fun to tweak the lyrics so that the mechanic wants advice on his short story or personal statement as part of his application to some academic program. What a great way for a writing tutor / instructor to make some real money. ;-)

Then he said, “Ain’t you that songwriter guy”
I said, “Yes I am.” he said, “So am I”
And he sat down and played me a song by the grease rack
When he finished singin’, he gave me a smile
And I closed my eyes and pondered awhile
And he said, “What do you think?
Now, don’t hold nothing back!”

Well, I gave him my most sorrowful look
And I said, “This song’s got a broken hook.
I can order you a new one from Nashville but it won’t be cheap
And I know you’ve been using a cut-rate thesaurus
’cause your adverbs have backed you into your chorus
Now your verse is runnin’ on verbs that are way too weak!”

But don’t be downhearted, I can fix it for you, sonny
It won’t take too long, it’ll just take money
And I said, “Hold on friend now, I’m not through
I hate to be the one to give you the news
But your whole melodic structure’s worked itself loose
It’s got so many dotted eighth notes in it
I’d keep her under fifty beats per minute
I mean, that’s just me talkin’, it’s really up to you”

“And you’ve got a bad safety problem with
That dominant chord with the augmented fifth
just see how dangerously high it rises you up
So just go on over there and work on my car
I’ll sit here by the fan and chances are
I can straighten this thing out for eigh… nine hundred bucks”

But don’t be downhearted, I can fix it for you, sonny
It won’t take too long
You guessed it, it may be a hit
I like it

Heheh, the part when he says, “I mean, that’s just me talkin’ — it’s really up to you” sounds like a feigned attempt to stick to writing center philosophy: “Oh, it’s your writing, not mine! (but do it MY way and it’ll be a hit!)”


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