(Wo)Man’s Search for Meaning

© Martmartov | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Martmartov | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

I’m prepping for the workshop on character and was thinking about how the character’s thought processes have an effect on the way they view the world…and I got to thinking about how often we mis-hear something but because our brain is a wonder, we rearrange and filter the information so that it makes sense…for example:

For the longest time, I thought Bon Jovi sang, “Shot through the heart and you’re too lame, baby, you give love a bad name…” which made perfect sense to my nine-year-old mind, since I was certain he meant he’d been shot through the heart with love, and she was too lame (linguistically speaking) to love him back…of course, when I later discovered that it was “Shot through the heart and you’re to blame…” it made even more perfect sense. He’d been destroyed and it was her fault.

Other examples:

When Kanye West sang “Cutie the bomb, met her at a beauty salon With a baby Louis Vuitton under her underarm,” all I caught was the baby Louis & thought it was weird for a woman to carry her child like that, but who was I to judge?

A girl I knew in elementary had a younger sister who was convinced that Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam were singing, “I get lost in Edmonton.” (She was really singing “I get lost in emotion.”).

In Betty Davis Eyes (Kim Carnes), I thought the woman in question had hair of hollow gold (it was Harlo gold) & though the later lyric reads, “She knows just what it takes to make a pro blush,” I thought it was “She knows just what it takes to make a grown up.”

The interesting thing is that I got the words wrong and thus got the meaning wrong, and yet, the world (and the songs) still made sense…good lesson on writing characters whose internal world skews their external one…

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