For most of my adult life, I thought the line in Jimmy Buffet's song Margaritaville, I blew out my flip flop, stepped on a pop top, was actually ...stepped on a Pop Tart. Someone kindly pointed it out to me while I energetically sang along at a concert (OK, maybe not so kindly. It was more like, you dork!). I also thought that in U2's Where the Streets Have No Name, our love turns to rust, was actually our love tends to rush. I went to see them when they toured for the Joshua Tree, like, seven times but didn't discover my mistake until last year. A week ago, while listening to the radio on my way to work, Carol King's song Jasmine came on. I like to sing in the car. Loudly. I cranked it up and realized, OMG, she's singing Jazz Man. This song is clearly about a jazz musician, but I probably warped the other lyrics because I reaaaally like the smell of jasmine. Go ahead, say it...dork.
I thought maybe my hearing was bad. But then I realized, I heard what I felt was right. And now, even though I know the proper lyrics, it takes everything I have to hear them the right way.
For the past few weeks I've been working on a tough revision project. My friend Alexa called it a reimagining, which is probably more accurate. I just stared at my original draft on Day 1, thinking, how in the heck am I going to do this? Then I realized I shouldn't be looking at my earlier draft at all. In my head it was a finished product, and, like with the song lyrics, it was excruciatingly hard to train my brain to hear it differently. I opened a new doc and typed Chapter 1.
It made a world of difference.
So, to all my writer friends out there tackling revision projects: my thoughts are with you. Just don't ask me about the lyrics to Poker Face (You don't want to know what I thought...)