I started to write a lengthy excuse explanation for today’s post but it boils down to this:
I’ve been singing a lot of bluesy stuff lately in the car, because I like it and a lot of it is in my range—and Ann Rabson, who is my idol, writes a fine line in revenge blues that turn the usual tropes on their ear and make my commutes infinitely more enjoyable, plus many drivers in front of me will change lanes when I start belting ‘em out with feeling.*
But one of my favorites is actually a classic that was originally called, “The Weed Smoker’s Dream,” but is mostly known as “Why Don’t You Do Right.” If it helps, it’s the one Jessica Rabbit** sang in Who Killed Roger Rabbit?
It’s a gorgeous, torchy song. . . except for the lyrics, which comprise one long whine by a woman who’s telling her man that he let all these other women take advantage of him when he was flush and now that he wasted it all on them—and possibly lost it all in the Depression, like an idiot—he needs to go out and make some money for her.
I still sing it, because I’m a sucker for smoky vowels in a minor key—especially if there’s no one around to hear me butcher them—but this woman so needs a kick in the keister.***
Anyway, I’m driving along the other day and smoking vowels and idly thinking, as I tend to do, about all the articles and blog posts I’ve read lately about established authors reissuing their backlists electronically or publishing straight to eBook and why . . . and then the words I was singing kind of changed on me, as they tend to do.
Three days later, they were still rattling around, so I wrote ‘em down to make it stop.
And I needed a blog post. So here you go:^
You sold plenty copies back in ’93
But you let remainder tables make a fool of me^^
Now I have your rights, Like other writers do
Why don’t I eFormat you, and make me some money, too?
About cover art and marketing, I have my doubts
But I worked so hard on you—I can’t just throw you out!
I’ll program your bytes, like other writers do.
I’m going to eFormat you, and make me some money, too.
If I had prepared twenty years ago
I wouldn’t have dated your settings so
Guess I’ll rewrite, like other writers do
I’m going to eFormat you, and get me some money, too
I fell for your plotlines and took you back in
Now all I’m being offered is DRM!
Why can’t you scan right, like other texts do?
Upload right now and make me some money, too.
Why don’t you rank right, like other ebooks do?
Like those other eBooks do?
The actual, more-or-less original lyrics are here. And I do realize I owe a huge apology to Kansas Joe McCoy, who was awesome and amazing—if perhaps a tad misogynistic.
But we’re all products of our times—which might have been the point of this post, if I’d had one . . .
**Or, really, Amy Irving:
***Or to be introduced to the woman singing “Dirty Sheets.” Sorry—obscure blues joke. Sort of.
^And, yeah, that was the short version. Trust me.
^^I should stress here, that neither of the authors I’ve linked to have this problem. At all. This is all me.