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Targeted Warbling

FIRST, For Beloveds Far and Near: Check out this interview I did with Tom Franklin (Crooked Letter Crooked Letter) and Beth Ann Fennelly (Great With Child) about their new novel THE TILTED WORLD. This is an excellent, entertaining, gorgeous book about how these bright, fragile, hopeful threads of human connection spin out and entwine, even in a world where all that is beloved can be washed away in a moment.

Is anyone else amused that the first time I get asked to do an “Amazon 1 on 1,” there are three people involved? I think this shows an almost EPIC dedication to being bad at math.

MEANWHILE— Still trying to work out my social media. Scott has always been my tech guy, but he stops at WEBSITE. He has a Facebook profile that he looks at once every three months. He has a twitter account with NO followers, he has yet to tweet, and he follows exactly two entities: Me and the Mars Rover.

He didn’t even get the Tweeter until the Mars Rover started mouthing off. (It’s @marscuriosity, if you want to follow. I think the ROVER ITSELF is speaking in the first person, which I hope is true. If I am wrong, do not tell me. I love it.)

He did not wait to join because he likes the Rover MORE than he likes me, but rather, as he says, “I hear you tweet every day.”

He means singing. I have a disconcerting habit of narrating my life via tuneless warbling. It happens when I feel silly and happy, which is FINE, but sometimes it ALSO happens when I flip my eyeballs inward to see the book I am making in my brain. This is when it is a problem, because at those times, I do not even know I am doing it. It can happen at HUGELY inappropriate moments.

Example: You know Scott and I are gamers, right? (We are currently playing NEVERWINTER, if you game) Well, back when we played World of Warcraft, if your character was a Warlock you could drop down a green thing on the ground. Look left and you will see what it looks like. Kinda like an evil toilet, yes? And if I clicked on it, my character got a round thing that looked like a MINT in her backpack, and eating it would give health points back.

Our friends with Warlock characters dropped these frequently; I LOVEDIT. Those mints were often the difference between success and death. I made up a little happiness song that I sang every time some kind warlock made one of these fountains.

One day, I was in Target with MY WHOLE FAMILY, picking through a bunch of glassware on a sale endcap, and I had a novel idea twisting about in my brain. It got interesting. SO interesting that I lost track of the reality around me. I phased out, disappearing into an imaginary Georgia mountain town inside my head, staring slack-jawed at a glass I didn’t want to buy even though it was a dollar.

I snapped out of it when Scott gently touched my shoulder. I saw my family allllllll staring at me. Scott, amused. Sam, nonplussed. Maisy Jane, praying for God to open the earth and let it swallow her. Behind them, passing shoppers were glancing askance and then speeding up and rushing their carts quickly away.

I realized I was singing My World of Warcraft happy song. OUT LOUD. Out VERY LOUD with all sorts of verbal flourishes, right there in Target.

It sounded a lot like what you hear if you click this.

Only louder. And OVER AND OVER. I was on endless repeat. I would probably still be there staring at the glass and repeating it if Scott hadn’t given me a shake. In the Target.

Okay fellow Art Farts, ‘fess up. Is this just me? Or do you ever get so IN YOUR HEAD that you don’t know what your body and mouth are doing?

Mine get away from me. If you have ever done this, NOW is the time to tell me, as I can’t believe I just put that song on the internet. I could use some Crazy Person Solidarity here.

23 comments to Targeted Warbling

  • I LOVE the song! I played WoW for a long time before I had to pull the plug to make my life function again. ahem. Anyway, I sing ALL THE TIME! I sing songs that I’ve heard, I sing songs to which I know all the words, I sing songs I’ve made up to go along with whatever I happen to be doing at the time. I usually wake up with a song in my head that was the background music to my dreams (yes, my life and dreams have soundtracks) and I will sing that song ALL DAY, sometimes for days on end. My current song is Bohemian Rhapsody and I can be heard alternately belting out parts and humming under my breath at any point during the day. This has been going on for a week.

    I can’t say, however, that I’ve any knowledge of my body and mouth doing things without my knowledge. The only time, I maybe come close to this, is if I’m in the middle of a project and driving or in some other way maneuvering my way to a destination. Somehow, I get where I’m going, but I have no memory of the journey because I was plotting and planning in my head. That’s probably illegal, but I don’t do it on purpose. It’s also probably very dangerous, but I’m here, not having careened into any persons or vehicles. I’ve often wondered if there is a functional part of my brain that takes over and does the driving or the walking when I’m busy in some other, more creative, part.

  • I DO THAT, TOO. I hate to drive, partially because I ZONE OUT. Worse part is sometimes I phase out and instead of going to the place I need to go to, I go to a place I visit FREQUENTLY. Heh. SO I will head for Trader Joe’s and end up at the YMCA, blinking and wondering why I am at the Y in CLOGS.

  • Chris of the Woodwork

    Well…um…”Candy from the Toilet” is certainly an…INTERESTING…um…song, but I have a feeling it may not make the America’s Top 40 list anytime soon.

    Unlike, of course, the author who wrote it.

    And yes, I do the same thing, only with commercials that are so annoying they stick in my head like chewed caramels.

    “Get more bang for your buck
    More bang for your buck
    Get more bang for your buck
    At RC Auto Credit…”


    And hymns. Also hymns. They are so much more comforting than commercials. I hum them instead of singing out loud, though. The commercial just plays over and over in my head, but never come out of my mouth.

  • Jess

    Once in the bank drive-thru, I was singing along with Aerosmith’s “I don’t wanna miss a thing” . . . you KNOW how Steven Tyler warbles, and I was warbling along with him, until I turned to get the bank money tube and realized all the tellers were staring at me, and listening, because they can hear you through the little microphone.

    I can’t even remember if they were laughing or just in awe, because I was so befuddled and torn between embarrassment and wanting to finish singing the song.

  • Brigitte

    I’ve been going everywhere na-na-na-ing to the tune of the theme song from “Total Drama Island”, but I’m usually aware I’m doing it. I keep a strict eye on myself since once back in elementary school when a friend said she liked how I rocked and sang while doing my classwork, and I was mortified because I’d had no idea of what mine own self was up to!

  • Casey

    My husband and I just started playing WoW again – WE ARE IN OUR 50’s. I would TOTALLY sing ‘Candy From The Toilet’ – makes perfect sense to ME. We are just only baby players tho – level 25 on the Alliance team. Barely out of Stormwind. *stopping talking now because am giant old lady dork*

  • Jeanette

    You made my day. That was hilarious. I sing in the car mostly, so not too many people hear but they may see a lot of beebopping.

  • Lydia

    Oh my god, I just peed myself laughing YOU MADE A SOUND FILE OF CANDY FROM THE TOILET hahahahahaha.

    Ok, your blog just peaked. Stop now, you CAN’T improve on that.

  • On the rare occasions things are moving along well at work and I’m in a groove (and uninterrupted), I’ll sing along sort of under my breath to whatever I’m playing on the radio. It’s a private office, so I only startle people when they actually come in to see me.

    I’ve tried using classical music instead, but I played violin for years, so I tend to pick out the violin part and hum along with that.

  • Lori B.

    I sing all the time without realizing it. Usually it is sparked by something someone says. Ex: “Oh no, look at the time. I should have been gone by now.” And sure enough 5 minutes later I will wake up and realize I have been singing “Oh Sherry” by Journey under my breath. Then I usually start belting it out to the annoyance of my children. My mind is a steel trap when it comes to linking conversations and song lyrics. The kids hate it, but my husband just smiles and shakes his head. I’m pretty sure the engineer in him loves the quirkiness in me. Opposites attracting and all that.

  • “Candy from the Toilet” just changed my life. I play WoW and I write books and I have NEVER had such a rush of creative genius as “Candy from the Toilet.” Go on tour with it and I swear I will buy all of your t-shirts.

  • Lillian and I are EQ2 gamers, and we tend not to sing while we’re gaming, because we’re so busy muttering, “Kill it kill it kill it killitkillitkillit.” But I do sing at inappropriate times.

    The only time I lost track of where I was and what I was doing was when I was driving. However, I haven’t done that in a while, so it’s safe to get back on the roads. For now.

  • Jessica (the celt)

    See, the Targety people probably thought you were talking about urinal cakes, so they just didn’t get it. You should have explained: “Oh, it’s WoW Toilet Candy, not urinal cakes. So. Yes.”

    I sing all the time. My husband and I were watching an episode of Adventure Time a few weeks ago, and he said, “What is up with them just making up songs randomly about whatever they’re doing?” He paused and then looked at me and said, “It’s just like living with you!” I said, “Aw, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me!”

    So, yes, I make up songs to narrate what I’m doing. I also make up songs to annoy people (mainly my husband). Sometimes I just start singing when I’m doing other things and accidentally end up annoying my husband, and then I’m already on a roll, so I continue on to purposefully annoy him after he lets me know that I’m annoying him. *deep breath* Um, long sentence. I’m kind of sad that I don’t live in an irreverent musical, because then my musical narration would be appreciated. Also, my inner-song-narrator is kind of a middle school boy, because scatological humor seems to be pretty common.

    And…now my husband is singing “Candy, candy! Candy from the toilet!” from the other room. When I said something to him, he said, “Hey, it’s catchy!” So, now you know.

    I’ll also admit that some songs have caught on, so we have songs for certain things that we do. Like the Tooth-Brushing Song that I made up when we were dating long distance, and we’d fall asleep together on the phone. Only he’d need to go brush his teeth and wash his face during the call (because he wouldn’t do it beforehand), so I’d get bored. One day I was so bored, in fact, that I came up with two whole verses that we now sing whenever we talk about brushing our teeth (called “teefies” in the song, of course — as you do).

    I think Scott’s lucky to live with you. Where else would he get such cheap amusement? At least, that’s what I remind my husband all the time.

  • HAHAHAHAHAHA! This is exactly how I need to wake up every morning! I am not a gamer but my son is. He whistles when he is inside his head. Sometimes he whistles in his sleep. The closest I come to warbling is when I talk/sing to my cats. It is really high pitched and childlike, and it just spews out sometimes without restraint (even when my kids have their friends over). I am their pride and joy, I tell you. And as an aside, I love Tom Franklin. He is one the nicest men I’ve ever met, and if he is that nice I have to assume his wife is too and I know I will have to read this book. I’ve heard amazing things about it.

  • Marla

    I kind of want to make your song my phone’s ringtone because it is so amazing. You and I live somewhat close to one another, though, and I’d feel really bad if you and I were both at a restaurant or something and someone called me and across the room you heard “CANDY FROM THE TOILETTTTT!”

  • JulieB

    Oh, that was fun! I think if you made a “Candy from the Toilet” video, it would give “What Does the Fox Say” a run for it’s money. And, thank you. I think you’ve finally gotten the WDtFS earworm out of my head. It’s been there since last weekend when my kids showed it to me.

    I don’t sing out loud without realizing it (at least, I don’t think I do), but I _do_ have conversations silently, but apparently, with HUGE gestures and facial expressions. I’ll hear one of my kids snicker and say “Who you talking to this time, Mom?” So, there’s that. Or, I’ll just freeze, and stare off into space when I’m working on a story. Lot’s of time, that coincides with cooking. 🙂

  • Bridget

    Oh! I loved this book..loved SELS more but this is a good one to read as well.

  • edj

    I talk to inanimate objects. My children will not go through the self-checkout lane at the supermarket with me because I get very annoyed at the loud faux-British woman asking me inane questions and telling me there’s an “unidentified object in the bagging area” when there ISN’T, I just scanned the item, and why is she being so sensitive? Sigh. Also when I was pg i got in the habit of talking to my kids in utero and sometimes I did that in public. So no, not singing for me (except in the car) but certainly crazy person talking!

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    Zoey Deschenel from New Girl is always making up songs, despite how much her room mates plead with her not to.

    I don’t sing out loud b/c I have been told by my DH and son that I can’t sing and therefore should NEVER TRY. But I do get zoned out and start sentences but don’t finish them. I’ll flip my eyes back outward I’ll see someone — usually my son — staring at me expectantly. “Mom, you just started a sentence and stopped.”

    (side note, my favorite line in your blog was this: “but sometimes it ALSO happens when I flip my eyeballs inward to see the book I am making in my brain.” I think I may have to steal it shamelessly for my writing).

    Also, I am not a gamer but I would like to learn. I think it would be creatively stimulating. What is a “beginner game”????

  • That song is 12 different kinds of awesome!!!

  • I can say nothing. First, I created “Fred the Bunny” to the tune of the Hallelujah chorus. (Aim high, I say) Then, I created the todavia song for my Spanish students. Teenagers LOVE it when you create a song for them. (Not)

  • Chelsey

    Ok, so you’re NOT alone. When I shop by myself I leave in my headphones and listen to music until I need to pay, then they get removed until I’m back in my car. I mouth the words the majority of the time, except for my local Dollar Tree. I have no idea what magical powers this store has but I ALWAYS end up singing out loud in the bath products/hair stuff isle and there’s always the same sales guy like 10 feet away. I am now a known person in our local Dollar Store. They know my name…and they now follow me to see if I’m going to sing. Oh god! I’ve turned into the crazy people I used to giggle at when I worked with the public….Nooo!!

    My song of choice: California Dreamin’ by The Mamas & The Papas