Over twenty years ago, I wrote a song. At the time, I took great solace from a Libby Roderick song that moved through our women’s circles. How could anyone ever tell you, you were anything less than beautiful? (Thanks, Libby, for all that musical courage, all these years.) I wanted to use those lyrics in my novel about the woman comedian, Nessa Allen, of my current Blessed by Silliness re-write labors.
This blog is not about copyright, despite the title. But even then I knew I couldn’t use Libby’s song in my novel without a bunch of legal rigmarole. I set out to write one that would have the same feel. At the time, I was a para-transit bus driver, spending the bulk of my human interaction time with elderly, disabled, and developmentally disabled folks. During breaks, I worked out this song, singing to an empty bus. After it was done, I could always see my passengers’ loveable faces whenever I sang it.
The words to the song:
You are more than beautiful, you’re loving and you’re kind
You are more than wonderful, you’re precious and you’re wise.
You’re everything that anyone on earth could ever be,
Air in the sky, salt in the sea.
You are a miracle to me.
I suspect that most of the people who read this blog entry know these words, and the notes and rhythm of this little song as well. (Because we are still only a small intimate group. If you read this and don’t know me, I’m shocked. Shocked! I tell you! But, welcome to my life, and my song.)
What I am learning about this blogging publishing world, is that NOW, as of this posting, this song is legally copyrighted. So it is “mine” legally. But I have given it to so many people, so often. Like love, the magic penny, it keeps on being more. I’ve sung it to individual people, on the bus and since. For birthdays, for Quaker gatherings, at memorials. Five years ago, when my sweet Will was dying, I sang it for him every day. Last week, I sang it for Doris, just after her spirit left her body. Last weekend, I sang it for my friend with Alzheimer’s. She loved it the second and third times with the same sweet amazement as the first time. “For me?!” she said. Yes! Yes!! YES!!!
Recently, after all these years, the song got its title. Pansy’s Song. Pansy, nee Violet, is Vanessa Allen’s DD sister. So, you would think this would settle then, the question of whose song is this? if only in the fictional “reality.” But no. Duke Day, the famous singer, wrote it for Pansy, or so most of the family thinks, but sister Vivian thinks he wrote it for her. Sylvia, Duke’s biggest fan, believes he wrote it for his dead wife, Nancy. I give up. Legal rights are kind of meaningless in this silly debate.