Our Jamie

I think the Dublin concert went well.

I also think I need to re-think my song “Daft Jamie” from the title on down.

My character Jamie is a little boy with some mental disabilities who always wanted to explore the stars. He sings a song to himself that no one else can understand about this yearning. His father, though, who has always shared a special bond with his boy, gets it. When Jamie’s brothers and sisters are abducted by a sort of alien Pied Piper, his father sacrifices his own life to ensure that James has a place on the same starship–so that he won’t be left behind.

Jamie is named after the penultimate victim of the Burke and Hare murders, James Wilson, who was locally known as “Daft Jamie.” I did this because when I read about him, and the awful way he died, I just wanted him to _live_. And since I was writing these Distant Star Ballads, I thought he could live there. His story sort of collided with the Pied Piper story and my song “Daft Jamie” came out of it.

It’s a cruel song, about a bad bad bargain. And a little boy getting his heart’s desire at the end comes at a terrible cost, and may not be such a great thing anyway…

But I’m not sure, ultimately, the cruelty of Jamie’s nickname—which says something about humanity and human history—is worth the cost of singing it.

Need to tweak a lot of lyrics and think the whole thing through again.

There’s a video of the original here, on Facebook, from 5 years ago. It’s changed even since then, minutely. I will have to keep chewing on the idea of nuance, complexity, point of view, necessity, what serves the story, and the world.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Our Jamie

  1. Joe Bushong Taylor

    But I want to hear this song! How can I do so? The name “Daft Jamie” is how the world treats such members. From your post it sounds like the story is bittersweet, but tells a tale of how the magic that is love makes a dream come true. It is a timeless tale. And all magic comes at a price. Please don’t second guess your muse.

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