“GI Jive,” “Mairzy Doats” & #Tanka, too!

Liz on Her Author Platform

I recently had a conversation with a fellow writer about the conventional wisdom of needing to have a blog following to “build author platform.” (I will always put that phrase in quotation marks. When I’m speaking, I use air quotes.) I advised him that it takes a big time commitment to read and comment on others’ blogs–but the inspiration for new work that I get from reading blogs has been a huge unexpected benefit. Particularly in the area of poetry, I now have a small body of work that never would have come into being if I had not been inspired by someone else’s blog post.

The tanka I’m going to share with you is a case in point.

I am a regular reader of GP Cox’s World War II blog, Pacific Paratrooper.  A recent post focused the development of Armed Forces Network Radio: Military Radio – Armed Forces Network.

After reading the article, I went back to the header photo, which depicts the front cover of the sheet music for a song called “G.I. Jive.”

Image attribution: http://historyonthenet.com

I was so taken by the image, I just had to know what the song was like. I found it on YouTube, of course:

Listening to the song immediately brought my dad to mind. Not only did he serve in World War II, he had to be the biggest swing fan of all time. This in turn reminded me of another song from the ’40s, “Mairzy Doats.” My dad liked to sing the song to me when I was very little. Back to YouTube:

The Lamb Connection

Liz’s Cereal Dish

And now for the tanka!

Mairzy Doats & Liddle Lamzy Divey Redux

Daddy called me Lambikin
when he sang me Mairzy Doats
language wondrous strange
years pass, Lambikin grows up
canvas feedbag, mares eat oats

 

 

211 thoughts on ““GI Jive,” “Mairzy Doats” & #Tanka, too!

  1. Great post. I like “inspiration for new work”–yes of course but I’d never put it into words. I love GP’s blog also, maybe where you and I met!

    I’m listening to GI Jive as I read my morning’s blogs.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. “Author platform” definitely belongs in quotes. 😏
    I agree with you about learning from others’ blogs–and also that it takes a lot of time.
    I love how reading that post led you through musical and family memories that you put into your poem.
    My younger daughter still has her teddy bear divided plate and little matching mug, and older daughter has a little glass that she always used at my mom’s.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I’m glad to find a kindred spirit in the “author platform” department. I’m so glad to enjoyed the post and that it brought back fond memories for you. I still have my mom’s pewter baby cup and my baby cup as well. My cup is sterling silver with a series of dents around the bottom. Apparently, I had a propensity to bang the cup on my high chair tray with great force when the orange juice ran dry.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. I am howling in mirth. My Dad called me Mairzy Doats – which I wrote to in one of my earliest blog offerings “From the Logging Camps” on The Lambsy Divey Murder. Mairzy Doats got corrupted to Marel and Dozel, depending on mood, and lastest to his last loving day.
    You have made my day!

    Liked by 6 people

  4. I love how you pulled all this together to create your poem! Ideas come to us in so many ways. Blogging does require us to read a lot of blogs! Like you, I have found this to be a goldmine for the imagination. I have found so many inspiring bloggers…I am so very glad I found you in this blogging world! 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  5. 😀 Fun! Even though most of my writing is journalistic, I’ve come to think of my website/blog as a home base more than a platform. It ties all my writing together in a single place. And, I love talking to other writers like you! Blessings!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Beautiful tanka, Liz. How sweetly nostalgic for you, those affectionate moments brought forward in time with continued, tangible meaning. Lambikin is such an endearment. I love the photos of your “author platform” 🙂 and your cereal dish. I remember the day my grandfather explained the lyrics of “Maizy Doats” and what a fun revelation it was! The cover to the sheet music of “G.I. Jive” is humorous, that potato peeling G.I. holding his sweetheart’s picture and dancing to the music on the radio. Bloggers such as you inspire me in my own work, helping me to keep it “real.” Thank you.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you, Mary Jo. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. The “author platform” was my little brother’s tree house that he build at the family camp in the woods in northern Vermont. He hadn’t yet had his growth spurt, so his plan was to make the dimensions such that I couldn’t easily enter it. Then he grew taller than I. Oops.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. It is a fun poem, Liz. I like tanka because they are a bit longer so you can say a little more, but they are still short enough to keep the message tight. I don’t recall any songs like this, Liz, but I was a serious child so may have not appreciated the humour.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Sweet post! I still sing Mairzy Doats. When I was a child,I heard Bob Hope and Bing Crosby sing. it. I never forgot the words! I like the GI Jive! Never heard it before. Your Tanka is full of love!

    Liked by 7 people

          1. Well, anyone who eats a slice, wants to eat the entire pie. Actually my pies are so low cal, you could eat entire pies, and not gain weight. Also VERY healthy; whole wheat crust, vegetable oil or shortening & the crusts melt in your mouth, fresh fruit fillings with no sugar.
            These pies keep a person very regular. No need for senokot!
            Once a guy tries my pie, he’s really hard to get rid of. I still find the odd one hiding in a closet 😉,
            They freeze beautifully. I just thawed a strawberry pie. There’s 13 left in the freezer. We ate an apricot pie at the beginning of the month.
            By late May, all the pies will have magically disappeared. Then in June, fruits begin to appear at market again, and magically appear in my kitchen. Actually that would be my N.bringing fruits home, hoping they will turn into pies. That’s magic to him!

            Liked by 3 people

  8. The connections with people and ensuing friendships around the world have been an unexpected delight to me. Blogging is a terribly time consuming way to ‘acquire readers’, and I don’t see it as that anymore. Though it does keep my readers informed what’s new.
    As you say, the inspiration gained is payment in full, and the joy when someone comments that I’ve inspired them is priceless. Writing can be isolating, but blogging allows us to soar together.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I didn’t think about the art and design opportunities it’s given me. My blogs have indeed inspired me to create multimedia expressions. And my sherijkennedyriverside blog inspired thousands of photos that I actively shared for years. Such fun!

        Liked by 3 people

  9. Wonderful post! My grandmother used to sing Marzie Doats to me as a kid and it was one of the songs she showed me how to play on the piano! Lol! What memories you reminded me of!! Thanks for that!!

    As for blogging to “build an author platform” – I think of my blog more as a bookmarker marking a page in my creative life. If other people read my blog and are amused or inspired by it…well, that’s an extra benefit. When I have time I follow and read other people’s blogs for the camaraderie in it. I view the blogging world as kindof like a large cocktail party, one flits about visiting here and there briefly then moving on … but now and again a cocktail conversation is so interesting that you stay a while and try to contribute.

    Your conversations are usually where I stay a while. 😊 I really enjoyed your post and your poem! Thank you!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you, Sue! How wonderful that your grandmother used to sing Mairzy Doats to you and showed you how to play it on the piano! I’m so pleased that my post prompted those memories.

      I enjoy your blog for what I’m learning about the process of creating visual art (which I find fascinating) and the happy worlds you create.

      I like the image of the blogging world as a large cocktail party–perhaps depicted in a Sue Clancy original? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lol!!! Thanks so much for your delightful reply!! I’m so glad you enjoy my posts. I certainly enjoy yours! You’re one of the people I purposefully look for in this giant cocktail party: “Anyone seen Liz? Is she over by the bar? Or the buffet? Well, if you see her tell her I’m looking for her…I brought this that she might like….” ❤

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Dave! As I mentioned to Mary Jo, the platform was my little brother’s tree house at our family’s camp in the woods. He thought he could make the dimesions such that I would find it too difficult to enter. I posed for that particular photo to spite him.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. I agree blogs can be inspirational and your example is a good one. Your cautionary note is also worth keeping in mind. Regarding your music channelling, I used a lot of 30s big band music to nurture a feeling for the time while writing BIP. Also hymns.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, JIm! I listened to music of the 1920s for Telling Sonny. You’re right that music can put us in the right imaginative frame of mind to write about a particular time period.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Mairzy Doats has stuck with me for seven decades. Being a songwriter, I took special interest in its origin. The song was written and composed in 1943 by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston. It was first played on radio station WOR, New York, by Al Trace and his Silly Symphonists. The song made the pop charts several times, with a version by the Merry Macs reaching No. 1 in March 1944. The song was also a number-one sheet music seller, with sales of over 450,000 within the first three weeks of release. Even though the song was released before I was born, it became a favorite as my mother sang it to me as an infant. Song weird things transcend time.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I loved the G.I. Jive, too. I was surprised I hadn’t heard it before. “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” was another favorite of my dad’s. Your question of why troubled times produce great art just triggered a thought. Covid literature has become a sub-genre, and I think there is visual art being created as well. I’m not aware of any music speaking to the pandemic (although it could be that I just haven’t heard it). All is well at the moment. We’re still sheltering in place.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Covid literature now? Interesting. I do have the feeling that this crisis is going to lead to major changes. Which ones? I don’t know. One can only hope violence can be avoided…
        Meanwhile, let us shelter indeed. “Gimme, gimme shelter” (?)
        🙏🏻

        Liked by 3 people

        1. It’s been interesting to watch the emergence of Covid literature because books are being published now before the pandemic is over, which is very different from “disaster” literature of the past which didn’t have the immediacy of blogs and self-publishing.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Liz, I love the illustrations (including “Liz on Her Author Platform”—funny!) and the music. That’s my husband’s and my favorite era, and everything related just grabs me. So by the time I got to the tanka, I was primed to enjoy it, and I did. You’re right: someone else’s blog post is inspiring! Thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Ranee! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. When I remembered the photo I wanted to use for my “author platform,” there was quite a kerfuffle in the household as I sent my husband on a hunt to find it.

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Liz – this is the third time around for me because I love the conversation that you generate from your writing and poetry. First off, my father sang that song many times during my childhood so you brought back the most exquisite memories. I have learned that bloggers have unique reasons for engaging in the blogosphere, but all those reasons can be distilled into one word – belonging. We need to connect and find individuals and communities who add meaning to our lives. How we measure that belonging comes in different ways of engagement. Whether we are photographers, writers, poets, dancers, musicians, singers, we travel together. Our personal stories are interwoven and added to the fabric of the human experience. And that, my dear friend, gives me great comfort! Many hugs coming your way.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you for your third visit, Rebecca. There seems to be a whole community of people with a “Mairzy Doats” childhood in common! You’re so right about how our personal stories are interwoven to form the fabric of human experience.

      Liked by 4 people

  14. One solid piece of advice I hear quite frequently is the importance of being a regular reader to improve as a writer. Visiting other blogs is stimulating, and we can learn about different writing styles and points of view. It’s rewarding to be part of a community that looks out for one another.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree with you about the importance of reading for a writer. In my own case, I learned about writing fiction from reading it long before I had any formal instruction in it. I’m also finding it fun to read blogs from the perspective of the blog as a literary genre in its own right.

      Liked by 3 people

  15. A delightful example of your point. GP is a great blogger. I have never heard a recording of Mairzy Doats before, but immediately recognised it from your title – it must have been stuck in my brain from somewhere 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I agree about the ‘author platform’, Liz, and now I will never get that image out of my head! Yes, it takes time to drop in and spend some time with people, but it’s so worth it. Never mind the ‘platform’ bit, it’s the community that’s important to me, with new ideas, great writing and wonderful support.
    I love the music from the G.I. Jive era, but I’ve never heard Mairzy Doats before, possibly because we were the ‘other side of the pond’. It’s the kind of song one of my parents might’ve sang to me, had they come across it.
    And I really liked the way you brought the strands together in the tanka, too! Lovely post, Liz 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Hi Liz, Your post reminds me how I discovered poetry again reading posts in this creative, clever community. It is interesting how an article and a photo prompted a chain of memories. What a happy and fun song! Your tanka conveys a great deal in few words. I can feel the mutual love.❤️

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I shared your post yesterday, Liz. I am still not very savvy on Twitter. Always something new to learn. I began my blog a little over two years ago and aside from finding a supportive, kind and interesting community, I have also discovered great books to read in new genres. New friends, new books, what’s not to love. 🙂 I have “Telling Sonny” on my reading list. One of the reviews says “I look forward to Elizabeth Gauffreau’s next book.” xx

        Liked by 3 people

  18. 1944, the near end of the 2nd World War, same year my 39 year old father died. How could I forget. The radio music, ( no television yet till early 50s) GI Joe to which we listened, war stories like L for Lanky, or The Shadow with Orson Welles, Batman, Gunsmoke and Sam Spade, or Phillip Marlowe. I could go no forever remembering these radio listening pleasures that allowed your young imaginations to form your own picture of the characters that voiced ,the heroes and bad guys they portrayed in your mind, in the stories you followed religiously each day or week. Liz, this post of your is magic, beautiful magic bringing back a life past that needs be remembered.
    Thank you dear lady, for this wonderful reminder of an important part of my life and its aging past !

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Your poem is so cute and so fitting for the subject! My dad used to sing me Mairzy Doats ALL the time. I remember once he was singing it as we were driving into Chicago (from Kalamazoo) and I asked him what the words meant. LOL He started joking around about it, and I remember being intrigued and frustrated.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Blogging has inspired me tremendously. Though work keeps me much occupied nowadays but it’s blogging that I enjoy most. There are always posts that inspire.
    I liked Liz’s cereal dish. I’m in a quiet zone right now but will be back to listen to the songs.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. I love how one post or image can spark investigating, and also bring past memories to the forefront. Who said, “The more you you, the more you know you don’t know?” This search was delightful, especially the domino effect, and of course the poetry. GP is one of my favorite bloggers, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What I particuarly like about this kind of inspiration from other bloggers is that it is so serendipitous. A developmental question for you occurs to me: at what age do children develop an awareness of their own thought process to be able to engage in metacognition?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s a tricky question. I doubt children in elementary school would be able to engage in metacognition. I would say when a child can understand poetry’s deeper meaning, that skill then allows them to take their own thinking to another level. It’s interesting how poetry can play such a powerful role. So, perhaps middle school or junior high school would be my guess.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Metacognition is an important skill for reflective learning and reflective professional practice that we’re helping our college students develop, so I was wondering what they might have for a frame of reference from earlier schooling. Probably reading and talking about what they’ve read with others would be where the foundation is laid with children.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I think that would be a good start, a frame of reference, and something the students can immediately understand – therefore giving them the tools to take them to metacognition. Childhood memories are strong.

            Liked by 2 people

  22. Liz, I’m fallen immediately for ‘Mairzy Doats’ – I’m an instant fan and find it so catchy and cute! 😀 How wonderful that your father sang this to you … and how through blogging this has inspired your special tanka! Blogging definitely has its pros and cons and like you, I find the pros far outweigh the major con of the time to answer and comment on blogs. The sense of community is incredible, the support, encouragement and yes, new ideas are endless! GP Cox has a treasure of a blog which should be archived safely for prosperity – I’ve learned so much along the way and the fun unusual things such as the post you mention are a real treat! Wishing you a lovely weekend! xx

    Liked by 3 people

  23. cool tanka and beautiful rabbit trails you went on with ideas and explorations
    and fun to go from GPs blog and i did not expect the swing vibe in the GI Jive song – guess jive to me meant 70s and i see the word goes way back

    Liked by 3 people

      1. oh yes – forgot that one – and wasn’t there a song about “everyone was jive talking?” oh wait – that was “everyone was king fu fighting”
        hahah
        🎵🎵
        and some jive talking too

        Liked by 2 people

  24. Hi Liz
    Enjoyable post! Here in Britain, Mairzy Doats is not one of our traditional children’s songs so I didn’t grow up with it. However, I remember a version of it being extremely popular on the radio in the late 50s/ early 60s. I have been trying to look up whose recording that would be but I haven’t found it yet.
    Meryl

    Liked by 3 people

  25. I couldn’t agree more, Liz, that there’s a side benefit to having an active “author platform” – all that inspiration! We learn, go places we haven’t gone before, try new forms of expression. It was fun to see how GP’s post lead you to music and memories and poetry. I love it that your dad called you Lambkins. Awwww. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

Thanks for stopping by!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.