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Elizabeth Boeser

© 2007

“Itty Bitty”
Lyrics by  Elizabeth A. Boeser

Itty Bitty thought her siblings coulda treated her better.
They said, “It’s not your cheese,” but she thought it was cheddar.
They played fudge factory and made her eat dirt.
And liked to tickle her ‘til her bladder burst.

They tied Itty Bitty’s Barbie to a bottle rocket.
They stuck her itty bitty finger in an old light socket.
Wedgied her drawers and burned ‘em in a stove.
Like Nebuchadnezzar to Abednigo.

(the chorus, sort of)
She said.

Never gave me heaven. They always gave me hell.
(Now they) ask me what’s wrong and if I’m well.
They forgot all about the way they behaved.
‘Cause they all found Jesus, and they all got saved.

Itty Bitty grew up.  She got a house and a cat.
She ate ice cream and Cheetos until she was fat.
She made all of her Friends on the TV.
And she started to wonder: “What’s wrong with me?”

Itty Bitty tried to pray but couldn’t get through the door.
She bought herself self help at the book store.
Solved all her problems like an alchemist.
Until she made that appointment with a therapist.

(the chorus, sort of)
And she said.

Nothing’s wrong with you. You’re not unwell.
But you can’t find peace if you make your own hell.
Forget all about what happened before.
Close the window to the past and open a door.

Itty Bitty changed her attitude. Got out of the mire.
Revved her engine up and peeled out the tires.
Took her TV to the pawn shop and hawked it.
Got a passport---put in her suitcase pocket.

Went all around the world and saw new places.
Saw familiarity on strangers’ faces.
It made her remember her family at home.
So she called them long distance on a pay phone.

(the chorus, sort of)
They said,

“The life that you’re livin’ sounds as fun as hell.
We hope that you’re happy and that all is well.
We’re feelin’ kind of sorry ‘bout the things that we did.”

And She said,
“Don’t worry about it.  We were all just kids.”

Elizabeth BoeserThe idea for this project occurred at the Minnesota Writing Project retreat in an instant during what I would term a “Tourettic outburst.”  We were going around the circle, discussing what we thought we might do for our final project.  Out of nowhere, I blurted, “I think I might try to write a poem so I can turn into a song to make into a music video.”  I went on to add that I teach iMovie for my TV Production class and that it would be a great exercise for me to practice doing what I try to make students do.

On the way home from the retreat I realized that I was going to encounter some obstacles during this project: I had to write a poem, record a song, make a music video, write a short story, study two books,  read my writing group’s projects, and perform in a play involving dumpsters and puppets, all within three weeks.  On top of that, I can’t play any instruments, nor can I actually write music.  I am not a trained singer either.  Instead of saying something like, “Mmmm...I changed my mind,” I decided to adopt my regular school year persona: Overachieving psycho.

On the way home from the retreat I called my youngest sister.  I told her about the video idea and asked her if I could put her daughter into my music video.  She said I could.  It was on. 

I did write a short story.  I based it on the episode from my own childhood where my siblings lost aforementioned youngest sister when she was three.  We almost didn’t get her back, because she thought her name was Gretchen.  Her name is Jeannie.   Long story, but trust me: it is cute and funny.  It has a happy ending. 

I thought about other stories I have heard from my family and friends about the things we experienced and suffered through as children and how that has affected our adult personas.  Some people have only happy memories, while some can’t get over it, some haven’t addressed or dealt with it yet, and some of these people are in therapy.  The protagonist, Itty Bitty, is representative of that journey. 

My friend Danny Freidman helped me with the music and played the guitar.  He writes folk music, so I thought about the structure, including the narrative thread, as well as the culture and history of relationships, families, religion and struggles represented in similar songs. I realized through the production of this project that I was involved in a collaborative process.  I needed my writing group to help me with clarity on the lyrics.  My friends helped me videotape my scenes, as well as lend me the equipment I needed.  They also let me record the scenes from the video and song at their homes.  My family let me use their children to tell the story.  They also came for taping part of the story and contributed the bottle rockets, cheese and Barbie® doll featured in the video.  I hope the message of the song, conveys the love and gratitude that I feel for everyone involved in this process.