Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Childhood Memories

I loved Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Zoom when I was a kid, lo, many years ago. Thanks to YouTube I found my absolute favorite sketch from Zoom (below). For some reason, this song remains totally intact in my memory. It makes me wonder why kids latch onto certain songs or phrases or events and not to others. With the benefit of hindsight, the song presages much in my life. First, the song. (Note, the tallest girl in the cast here is named Nina. That always tickled me too!)

The protagonist here is, of course, the cat. I am a proud cat-owner, cat-saver, and cat-lover. (I love just about every other animal too!) Did my love of this song foreshadow the fact that my current work-in-progress features some very important cat elements?

Also, the song has a certain violence to it. I don't think they'd let kids sing something like this ("97 pieces of the man was all they found") on children's programming today. Can it be just a coincidence that I write about kick-ass protagonists and love to write action scenes? Yay, violence! (in fiction, that is.)

The cat here is also quite the underdog. Shot at, given away, sent to the moon - how could a little cat survive all that? Yet he does, he keeps coming back. It's a lesson for writers. Pile the woe onto your protagonist, put her in impossible situations and then have her get herself out of them. Let the cat that came back be your template.

(Side note: I can't help thinking this song inspired "Stray Cat Strut" by the Stray Cats. The attitude in it is very similar.)


briank said...

I don't know if you're familiar with this classic animated short from Canada, but you should watch it anyway:

Nina Berry said...

Oh man, that was GREAT! I'd never seen it before. I knew the ballad itself was really old, but not how many people had covered it!

Thanks for the link, Brian!