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Mondegreens, and Jason Waterfalls

by on July 6, 2015

It all started with a song lyric.

A while back, I’d read an article on the Internet about misheard song lyrics, known as mondegreens. This comes from Sylvia Wright, an American writer, who in childhood had heard a tragic Scottish ballad (the best kind!) about the Earl of Moray, which had a verse that went like this:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,

Oh, where hae ye been?

They hae slain the Earl o’ Moray,

And Lady Mondegreen.

Very sad and romantic, right, the poor Earl dying with his love. Except that when Wright grew up, she realized that she had misheard the last line. It actually went: “They hae slain the Earl o’ Moray, and laid him on the green.”  This is slightly less sad and romantic, since only one person dies, and apparently Wright was quite upset that the Earl should die alone, without even a romantic companion. Thus, mondegreens came into being.

There are others, of course. My own personal mondegreen comes from the movie The Princess Diaries. At one point, when Princess Mia is at a beach party, her nemesis Lana and her cheerleader minions (the worst kind!) kick off the party with a song. I swear, when I watched that movie as a child, I heard Lana sing, “Scooby Cubie, you’re a roomie guy.”  It turns out what she was actually singing was, “Stupid Cupid, you’re a real mean guy.”  Which makes more sense.  Also, I hear they’re doing a third in that series; personally, I think the plot should involve Genovia being taken over in a revolutionary coup, forcing Mia to fight Red Dawn style to liberate her people and take back her throne. Maybe like Game of Thrones, but happier.

Moving on, one popular mondegreen involves the TLC song “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls,” which many people mishear as “Don’t go, Jason Waterfalls.” I naturally wondered what Jason Waterfalls might be like, and why someone wouldn’t want him to go. I made a few attempts at writing his story, but they never really went anywhere. Then, one night, I had a conversation with my fiance about a book series we both enjoy. We observed that one character, a minor one-book plot point named Alice, had suddenly disappeared after book two of the series. My fiance speculated that Alice had gone off to the Island of Misfit One-Scene Characters. Inspiration struck. The result was my NaNoWriMo 2014 novel. Then much editing occurred.

Result? Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you my new novel, Don’t Go, Jason Waterfallswhich you can find on Amazon in both paperback and e-book editions. Also, here is its Goodreads page. it involves Sally the Sanguine Sorceress of the South, Parisian sewer inspector Pierre, lovelorn fanfiction heroine Darlene Dove, the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father, and more, in their heroic attempt to find a way out of the Island. There’s badgers in bi-planes, swordfighting, a tiny bit of romance, and even an elf!  How can you go wrong with a story involving an elf? I ask you.

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